YES Prep Public Schools
Chris Bertaut, Development Team

On Wednesday, October 25, 2023, YES Prep welcomed nearly 400 guests to the Wortham Theater Center to celebrate 25 years of impact at the Seventh Annual Leading Houston Forward Luncheon.

Melanie Trent, chair emerita of the YES Prep Board of Directors, and Janet Clark, founding chair of the YES Prep Advisory Council, co-chaired the luncheon, which raised over $800,000 to support YES Prep’s continued growth.

“YES Prep graduates are changing our community and the world for the better. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary this year, it’s exciting to come together to honor YES Prep’s remarkable history and look forward to the future,” said YES Prep CEO, Mark DiBella.

Chris Barbic Legacy Award

YES Prep’s expansion is made possible with the help of generous supporters. Enbridge — part of a distinctive group of dedicated YES Prep supporters that have donated more than $1 million to YES Prep since 2002 — received the Chris Barbic Legacy Award. The award is named after YES Prep founder, Chris Barbic, a fervent advocate for quality public education for every student no matter where they live.

“Enbridge has a long history of supporting YES Prep Public Schools as part of our commitment to empowering young people in the communities where we work and operate,” said Enbridge Senior Community Investment Advisor, Regan Kasman. “We’re honored by this award and proud to support YES Prep as they prepare under-resourced students in Houston to be college ready.”

Alumni shine bright at luncheon

The luncheon also celebrated two educators: Eric Espinoza, who received the inaugural YES Prep Alumni Legacy Award, and Gustavo Mireles, who delivered the keynote address. Mireles is a YES Prep alumnus and founding kindergarten teacher at YES Prep Southeast Elementary. Espinoza and Mireles are but two shining examples of what YES Prep students can achieve.

YES Prep’s generational impact

Each year, funds raised at the Leading Houston Forward Luncheon ensure students like Juan Zarate, a first grader at YES Prep North Central Elementary, have the support they need to grow and thrive. Juan was able to join us yesterday with his mother Elizabeth Martinez Zarate, who is a YES Prep alum and current staff member, illustrating YES Prep's generational impact that runs deep in the communities we serve.

To enjoy photographs from the event, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about this event, contact Caitlin Monteith at

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