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Youth MOVE Maine Shifts Into Gear

Youth Advocates, NASCAR Pro Series Driver
Launch Awareness Campaign
at Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

            Click here for Sun Journal story and photo caption

AUGUSTA — Maine’s premiere youth aadvocacy group, Youth Motivating Others through Voices of Experience (“Youth MOVE Maine”) launched its 2010 public awareness campaign at the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day celebration, May 6, State House, Hall of Flags, Augusta.

Youth MOVE joined a line-up of youth and family speakers that also included James VanOver, a Morse High School senior, who credited his biological mother’s hard choice, adoptive family’s love, group home’s perseverance and teachers’ supports with getting him to graduation day and a focused future.  Twelve-year-old Kala Grant, a Girl Scout with her troop mate at her side, spoke of her efforts to educate and build awareness in Scouts and middle school about being the sibling of “My Very Special Brother” who is autistic.

Youth MOVE speakers were: operations lead Ryun Anderson, who explained the history of this youth movement in Maine; Jenn McLaughlin who introduced the public service message “You Decide!“; and, Jenn, Allie Spear, Rodney Keisman and Brendon Venable  who performed “Shift your mind, drive your dreams,” a poem by Stephanie Knaus-Tucker, Brendon and Jenn.

NASCAR Pro Series rookie driver Travis Dunbar described how his life from chaotic home life to teenage track star to a two-time All-American with hopes of an Olympic run overcame the results of an auto accident that ended his running career to become a race car owner/driver and mentor of the Youth MOVE Maine Racing Team.

“Travis is the perfect spokesman for our 2010 awareness campaign,” says Brianne Masselli, Youth MOVE Maine’s co-founder. “His life is literally all about shifting gears. He is a role model for what youth stand for— resiliency, self-determination and hope— key factors in mental health and wellness.”

“I’m so pleased to represent these young people,” says Dunbar. “Their commitment to unite their voices and inspire others mirrors my own desire to mentor and motivate young people who persevere through adversity and keep driving their dream.”

Through youth-adult partnerships Youth MOVE trains providers, collaborates with family members, advocates in the community and works with policy makers and program administrators to enhance governance and evaluation.

“We are always getting new members that come from backgrounds where they don’t have access to resources,” says member Matt Brooks, “and Youth MOVE is a perfect place for them to find the help that they need.”

“Through Youth MOVE I am helping to improve the mental health system where youth are concerned,” says Kyle Prior, “I am able to help make the mental health system more accessible to youth.”

“What means the most to me is knowing that I’m helping people,” says Brooks.

“And sometimes, it’s just about getting together and having fun!” Masselli says.

There is lots of fun in store these parallel rookie seasons starting with the Youth MOVE Racing Team’s 2010 Season Opener scheduled for May 29, 6:30 pm at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough.

Youth MOVE Maine (www.youthmovemaine.org), the state chapter of Youth Move National, works to ensure that youth in Maine’s youth-serving systems are prepared for life. Youth MOVE Maine is dedicated to the redevelopment of systems and services, and advocates for youth to use their power and expertise to make change within their communities and within their own lives.

Category: Children's Mental Health Awareness