March 18, 2022 | Upswing Partners
Submission by Tymber Hudson, YMCI Project Director
Youth MOVE National (YMN) envisions a future in which young people are valued as empowered leaders, advocates, and designers of communities that are built for all youth to thrive. Youth MOVE National connects, supports, and develops youth leadership in advocacy to create positive change. We practice authentic youth engagement through youth-driven decision-making by elevating youth voices of lived experience. We ensure that young people are heard and valued as leaders in the agencies, communities, and systems that impact their lives.
The Youth MOVE Change Initiative (YMCI) is a program designed to enhance and expand the youth peer workforce with a specific intention to work in the field of mental health to address the unique needs of BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S+ youth. In partnership with The Upswing Fund, this initiative is designed to mitigate systemic challenges in barriers to care, reduce stigma around mental health, and provide training and education to youth. With this project, YMN created a Youth Leadership Council, a Fellowship Program, and a training schedule to build the capacity of the youth peer workforce. Through this project, YMCI was able to connect and offer support to over 140 young people across the United States.
The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health allowed YMCI to directly invest in LGBTQIA2S+ and/or BIPOC youth with lived experience. Participants of the YMN Peer Connect YPS training received a $1000 stipend to support their participation. We recognize that many young people are unable to access training opportunities if they are seeking employment or currently employed in a role that does not offer paid time off or sick days. Similarly, we were able to pay three young adults to participate in the Fellowship program. In addition to direct payment, funds were able to support ongoing coaching and professional development opportunities which will enrich young people’s skills and capacity. The skills and knowledge participants developed through this initiative will be relevant to whatever career pathway they choose.
Over the past year, YMCI connected with 150+ LGBTQIA2S+ and or/ BIPOC young adults across the United States. Through this project, 62 young adults completed the Peer Connect Training and 60 young adults joined a series of focus groups to inform actionable guidance to the mental health field. In partnership with the Youth MOVE Peer Center, 12 young adults were certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid and 70 young adults registered for the YMCI Summit for Youth Advocates.
We also partnered with LGBTQIA2S+ and BIPOC consultants to host and develop workshops for the YMCI online coaching portal. Topics include Data Justice, Ableism 101, Self and Community Care, Understanding state legislative process, and more.
The Youth MOVE Change Initiative proved to be a powerful platform for BIPOC and LGBTQ3S+ youth and young adults to inform meaningful change in their communities and beyond. We look forward to continuing to highlight these voices in our work moving forward.
Welcome to the YMCI Overview portfolio. We have achieved a lot of great work over the last year and wanted to create an intentional space to host resources and reports. We will continue to share resources and learning that have emerged from this project over the next 6-9 months.
What Helps What Harms Tipsheets
YMCI is excited to share two new "What Helps What Harms" tip sheets that have emerged from the series of focus groups with LGBTQIA2S+ and BIPOC youth/young adults. We invite you to explore these key takeaways and discuss them within your communities. Throughout the year, we will continue to share out key findings and best practices from the series.
YMCI Summit Review
YMCI hosted a Summit on November 13th, 2021. The event was designed for BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA2S+ youth advocates and youth leaders ages 16 to 29 to join an intentional space to generate strategies and solutions for improving youth peer services within their communities. This blog is an overview of the event featuring art created to capture the important learnings and recommendations for the field.
YMCI Coaching & Professional Development
Welcome to the YMCI Coaching & Professional Development portal. Each week, we will be posting a new series of videos, activities, information, and discussion topics. Each of these topics will focus on an area of interest that we are excited to platform as a way to highlight topics that are important to the YMCI initiative.