More about Youth MOVE New Hampshire in 2020
Youth MOVE New Hampshire is a diverse collective of young people that advocates for youth voice and choice in behavioral health, in other youth serving systems, and in their own lives. We do this by providing individualized youth peer to peer support, inspiring hope, building awareness to reduce stigma, empowering and building resilience in youth, creating educational tools and training, providing youth leadership opportunities, coaching others in the area of authentic youth involvement. This year, Youth MOVE New Hampshire has continued to operate as a statewide program under NFI North and affiliated as a chapter with Youth MOVE National.
In alignment with other Youth MOVE Chapters nationwide, team members with Youth MOVE New Hampshire use their voices of experience to advocate and raise community awareness on causes that impact youth and young adults. We believe that for effective change to take place, youth and young adults must be viewed as equal partners in developing a solution to the challenges they face, instead of being viewed as the source of the problems. This creates new opportunities for youth and young adults to serve communities while developing personal leadership abilities and skills. This type of advocacy happens on multiple levels and looks different for every individual, group, and initiative. Allowing for creativity in this process enables young adults to customize the message to address the individualized needs that are identified among their peers within their communities. Whether advocating for individual, peer or systems rights, the advocacy efforts of young adults are impacted by the community’s readiness to value and incorporate youth voice and input. Communities can most effectively be improved by the voices of their people, and youth voice is a critical piece of the bigger picture of community improvement.
While it is crucial for youth advocates to have the support of youth-serving systems in their communities, it is also essential that community stakeholders and local businesses recognize the importance of and become invested in maintaining the wellness of young adults in their communities and nationwide, which is why we have prioritized having ongoing Youth MOVE NH representation on the following committees/monthly meetings: Care Management Entity Workgroup, the NH Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative Steering Committee (now the Children’s Behavioral Health Policy Advisory Committee under New Futures), NH Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative Executive Committee, NFI North Leadership Team, Children’s System of Care Advisory Council, Children’s Behavioral Health Communications Committee, Creating Connections NH Workforce Management Team, Creating Connections NH Youth Peer Support Workgroup, Creating Connections NH Community of Practice, Creating Connections NH Alternative Peer Group Planning team, Wraparound Management / Oversight Team, Wraparound Coaches & Supervisors Team, Enhanced Care Coordination Design Workgroup, Positive Collaboration Team (for all Wraparound Implementation Partners), Monadnock Regional System of Care (MRSOC), as well as the Monadnock CME. It is important to note here that prior to Youth MOVE NH representatives, there has been no consistent presence to represent youth voice at these meetings. In addition to having constituent representation in the above mentioned policy and advocacy groups, Youth Peer Support Specialists at Youth MOVE New Hampshire have also been involved in planning the Youth Summit 2020 with the Youth Advisory Board at DCYF, Statewide Youth Advisory meetings, as well as the development and ongoing meetings of the first NH Youth Action Board through DHHS (born out of the “Coming Together to End Youth Homelessness” event which Youth MOVE NH representatives were actively involved in planning and leading). Our program has also continued building our capacity to facilitate and provide direct training or workforce development to professionals and/or community members in a group setting on relevant topics regarding children's mental health, authentic youth engagement, and youth peer support.
We have used 2020 to continue working on strengthening our group communication, which can be challenging as a team that works remotely much of the time. Using our shared Google calendars to reflect our schedules as well as to set reminders/alerts for upcoming deadlines, meetings, or trainings has been a really effective electronic strategy for helping the Youth MOVE New Hampshire team to keep better track of our commitments and each others schedules. Among the trainings that Youth MOVE New Hampshire staff team members have received this year are: active shooter, beliefs, ideas, assumptions, stereotypes (B.I.A.S.), professional boundaries, Peer Counselor Certification (through Washington State), Seven Challenges, CPR & First Aid, Cultural and Linguistic Competence, Early Intervention in Psychosis, Emotional Intelligence, Graphic Facilitation, Families and Addictions (2 days), Habits of Wellbeing, HIPAA, Worker In-home Safety, Wraparound (Days 1, 2 & 3), Recovery Coach through CCAR Recovery Coach Academy, as well as relevant online webinars through Pathways RTC and Relias.
As our team grew and changed this year, we began scheduling time for staff meetings AT LEAST weekly (currently over zoom), so that we have more than enough time for addressing questions and concerns, formal and informal check-ins, individual and group coaching, supervision, and staying on top of administrative functions. Our weekly meetings center around a specific topic area for skill building, require that all staff complete pre-meeting assignments, and have specific agendas that are sent out three days in advance. Another added benefit of our more structured and consistent meeting schedule is that it has improved all of our working relationships with each other; this has been a critical component in maintaining a work environment and culture where all team members work collaboratively and feel encouraged to share their thoughts and opinions while also respectfully recognizing the value added from actively listening to each other.
In the coming year, as we continue building the capacity of Youth Peer Support through Youth MOVE New Hampshire and fine tuning the services that we currently offer, we are also looking to expand our reach to support more youth and families across the state. This year, one of the Youth Peer Support Specialists was able to develop and pilot a 6-week curriculum on wellness and grounding strategies with a group of girls at the Davenport School and we have had a lot of internal conversations about ways we might be able to offer and fund offer more group supports like that one.
Youth MOVE New Hampshire feels that growth towards offering personal development and empowerment activities that promote positive life skill development is essential to the success of youth and young adults in our state. This type of support can also provide opportunities for youth and young adults to set and achieve goals by participating in group programming, which encourages them to think about the future and more specifically their future. Youth and young adults who have experience achieving personal goals are able to view future obstacles as tasks to complete rather than as barriers preventing them from achieving success. Participation in a group of peers all working towards a common goal creates room for personal growth and confidence-building, which can change a young person’s life. When young adults gain a sense of ownership over the group they belong to, they also develop a sense of leadership and belonging, which increases their level of commitment to the group’s mission and success.
Our program is passionate about finding ways that Youth MOVE New Hampshire can partner with other state programs or organizations in order to offer activities that build individual skills of group participants in a way that promotes self-efficacy, empowerment, and/or using one's lived experience to advise and contribute to systems change and improvement that is most important to them and their peers. Youth MOVE New Hampshire looks forward to growing our team, building our capacity, and seeing what new opportunities unfold for us this year!
Thanks for taking the time to read more about what Youth MOVE NH has been up to this year,
YMNH Program Director