YESSS & Daniel Morales
Daniel Morales is the founder of YESSS, Youth Empowered through Scholastic Sport and Services. Morales was born in Guatemala and came to the Los Angeles area 20 years ago. He made his home in the Pico-Union/MacArthur Park area, trying to find a cause that spoke to him. When he saw the vibrant MacArthur Park community in danger of succumbing to gang activity, Morales decided he would devote his time to creating a safe space for children to learn and grow through sports. Focusing mostly on soccer, youth are placed on teams and play against each other in a structured league. The YESSS program is structured so that a family’s ability to pay membership should not have bearing on whether their child can participate in the league as the fee is set at a low yearly rate. Morales believes that through human connection and learning about the value of teamwork, at-risk youth form lasting bonds that stay with them beyond the program. In speaking with Morales it is apparent that he puts his entire soul into YESSS and working to strengthen the MacArthur Park community. He is an integral part of the community and the community in return values him dearly.
*The video profile above includes contributions by students from SLAB, the Spatial Analysis Lab at the University of Southern California Price School of Public Policy.