Meet Joe Colwell, President of YORKWISE.

Born and raised in York, Joe is one of seven children to attend York High School. Throughout his childhood, Joe’s family experienced many struggles associated with substance abuse, including the loss of his brother who was killed by a drunk driver.

Despite these challenges and tragedies, Joe found a sense of purpose at YHS. He became Class President and a student representative of YORKWISE, founded by Principal Bob Stevens. Following an increase in drunk driving crashes in the state, Stevens started YORKWISE to educate youth about the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse – a cause that resonated with Colwell.

Today, Joe is the President of the Board and volunteers countless hours to continue the YORKWISE mission. His favorite program, Project Graduation, is one he attended when at YHS and it continues to be popular among students.

High school graduation is really a special time, a crossroads for some who may be headed off to college or going into the working world. We want to provide a positive, fun, chemical-free event that all grads can look forward to and remember fondly. This past year’s Project Graduation featured a hypnotist, a professional comedian, great food and games, and even laser tag. Most importantly it kept all the students safe”.

As YORKWISE’s President and someone impacted by substance abuse, Joe is committed to helping the non-profit continue to thrive. In addition to Project Graduation, YORKWISE hosts and supports other drug-free activities and programs in town and is always looking for new ideas and volunteers to join the organization.

When asked about his connection to our community, Colwell said “There is so much that I love about York. It’s a special place with so much beauty – both in our landscape and the community. I’ve had a York address for nearly my entire life and I look forward to being here for years to come.

At the end of our conversation, it was no surprise that Joe wanted us to share how people could get involved with YORKWISE. “Since high school, I’ve been inspired by what they have done to help youth in our community, including me. I’ve met some of the most amazing people through my involvement as a teen and now as an adult, which has made serving as President even more rewarding.

To learn more about programs, how to request funding, volunteer opportunities, and information on the annual auction, visit or email