The YESS! Program will receive two annual donations of $30,000 to be matched by the Dowd-Berger Donor Advised Fund
Wilkes-Barre, PA – March 1, 2023: Sundance Vacations, a leader in making affordable vacations available to everyone, today announced a two-year partnership to help expand Your Emotional Strength Supported or YESS!, a school-based therapy program offered in thirteen Pennsylvania school districts through St. Luke’s University Health Network. Sundance Vacations has pledged to donate $60,000 over the next two years, a number that will be matched by the Dowd-Berger Donor Advised Fund through the Carbon County Community Foundation.
Created in 2020, the YESS! Program was developed to make mental health treatment available for elementary, middle and high school students through eliminating barriers like transportation issues, lack of healthcare coverage and stigma. By placing behavioral health professionals inside the schools, students can access services for emotional, behavioral or social problems that are interfering with their school performance and home life in a familiar space. In some districts, families and school staff are also able to utilize the services offered.
“We know St. Luke’s is an excellent partner through our former interactions with them and their history of providing creative solutions to community problems. Since 2020 and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more children are suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health issues, but many families don’t have the resources or ability to get the help their children need. The YESS! Program is a perfect example of that commitment to helping the community they serve,” said Tina Dowd, co-founder of Sundance Vacations. “Philanthropy is one of our core values and giving back to the community is part of our company ethos. When we learned about this program, we felt it was incredibly important to help support families, provide intervention and set children up for success.”
Pennsylvania’s age of consent for behavioral health services is 14, allowing children aged 14 and older who are experiencing trauma in their home to access the program and receive assistance on their own. The money donated will directly support the YESS! Program in the Weatherly, Panther Valley and Palmerton School Districts by offsetting the cost of a licensed clinical psychotherapist.
“St. Luke’s Psychiatric Associates YESS! program is grateful for this generous donation and leadership from Tina and John Dowd. Children helped by this gift will have access to mental health care to address depression, anxiety, mood disorders, family violence, trauma, abuse and substance misuse among other concerns,” said Amie Allanson-Dundon, MS, LPC, CAADC, CCDP-D, CFAS, CCTP, psychotherapist and network director of Clinical Therapy Services at St. Luke’s University Health Network. ”The integration of mental health care into a young person’s school home assists in eradicating stigma associated with a child having to leave school to attend outside appointments. The YESS! therapist is a part of the school family; accepted and fully integrated into the care and wellbeing of the whole person. We look forward to helping more children in Carbon County achieve their mental health goals with the use of this generous gift.”
The donations will be used for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years. For more information on the YESS! School-Based Therapy Program, visit St. Luke’s Adolescent Services webpage.
About Sundance Vacations
Seeking to change the way travel companies do business, Sundance Vacations was co-founded in 1991 by the husband-and-wife partnership of John and Tina Dowd. Sundance is home to over 300 employees across its locations in Wilkes-Barre, PA; Hazleton, PA; Harrisburg, PA; Allentown, PA; King of Prussia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Tamaqua, PA; Shamokin, PA; and Parsippany, NJ. To learn more about Sundance and our affordable vacation options, visit the Sundance Vacations website.