What is the Youth MOVE Peer Center?
Across the country, recovery-oriented services and consumer run organizations, including youth and family- run organizations, are increasingly seen as vital supports within the mental health service array. Youth MOVE National’s Consumer Peer Center was established in July 2020, with grant funding support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. As a youth-run peer organization, YMN honors lived experience and recognizes the value of both traditional and non-traditional supports. We serve peers across the lifespan, their families, and providers of all ages, to grow the youth peer movement across the United States. As one of five funded Centers, we look forward to collaborating with our partners to improve and sustain the implementation of peer and recovery-oriented services and supports.
Building on Youth MOVE National’s (YMN) expertise in youth peer support, youth engagement, and positive youth development, the peer center will build the capacity of the current and future peer workforce, consumer-run organizations, including youth and family organizations, mental health service providers, and individuals with lived experience to promote the resilience and recovery of those experiencing mental health challenges. We use multiple, effective tailored technical assistance (TA), coaching, and training approaches to improve implementation and enhance the integration of recovery-oriented services into the traditional mental health service array.
The Youth MOVE Peer Center is pleased to offer:
- Tiered menu of training and assistance to support peer-run organizations, provider organizations, and the mental health system in the successful planning, implementation, and sustainability of recovery services
- Annual learning community opportunities for distinct cohorts to address prioritized topic areas and audiences
- Development and dissemination of resources, toolkits, implementation guides, and other relevant materials
- Responsive individualized training, coaching, and technical assistance to the peer workforce, peer-run organizations, provider agencies, and local and state-level mental health leadership
The Youth MOVE Team
Johanna leads and guides Youth MOVE National’s work to ensure all young adults in youth-serving systems are seen as leaders. As a young mother, she saw the need for positive systems change and was one of the many young adults on the frontlines of Youth MOVE National’s founding. She believes strongly that change stems from dialogue between individuals with lived experience. You wouldn’t believe this about Johanna, but she’s an introvert. She can be seen frequently recommending niche podcasts to unsuspecting individuals.
Cassie’s journey in advocacy started at a young age largely due to her and her family’s involvement in various systems. As someone with lived experience, she discovered the importance and necessity of uplifting voices (particularly in marginalized groups) in order to impact systemic change. During her undergraduate career, she participated in and led multiple peer support groups ranging from academic mentorship, sexual assault response and support, and youth mental health outreach. Graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies, she continued to be a staunch activist for change and reform, particularly with LGBTQI2-S, women’s rights, and racial justice groups through volunteering and organizing efforts. Cassie joins Youth MOVE National as the Operations Coordinator, providing support, leadership, and oversight to operational day-to-day functions to inform and drive YMN’s mission. In her free time, Cassie is a volunteer leader for NARAL Pro-Choice America and can often be found organizing or assisting outreach events. She also loves to cook, reads almost any book she can get her hands on, and spends as much time as possible with her partner, friends, and family.
Lydia’s own lived experience with mental health, school, and youth leadership drives their dedication to authentic youth engagement, advocacy, and education. They’re excited about improving the service delivery model for LGBTQIA2-S youth on a national scale. As the former youth program manager at Youth MOVE Massachusetts and Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PPAL), they led the development of youth peer support groups, youth trainings and speaking engagements, and the internship program. In their spare time, Lydia volunteers on a local farm for hunger relief and teaches comprehensive sexual health education to youth and young adults. Plus, they love antiquing on the weekends.
Michelle’s advocacy work began when she attended a planning meeting where she met project stakeholders interested in hearing what they could do better for young adults. She was a great person to connect to as she has never had a shortage of ideas to create change in the foster care, juvenile justice, and mental health systems. Michelle spent extensive time working on youth voice and youth engagement within Utah’s Systems of Care and Healthy Transitions Initiative. She is a trained Peer Support Specialist who helped develop a Youth MOVE chapter in Utah. Michelle is proud of the work she led in creating intentional spaces for youth to share their experiences directly with those involved in policy and systems change efforts. On the weekends, Michelle is an avid gamer, PS4 and Switch are her favorite past times. She also has two dogs, a hedgehog, and a day gecko, that keep life interesting.
Kristin is the Youth MOVE National Peer Center’s Project Director where she supports the implementation of the Center’s initiatives including providing technical assistance to the mental health field on integrating and expanding youth peer support and other recovery-oriented approaches to care. In her previous role as the Continuous Quality Improvement Coordinator at THRIVE, Maine’s Trauma-informed System of Care, Kristin offered technical assistance, training, and consultation to government agencies, providers, and communities on incorporating and embedding trauma-informed principles and practices. Capitalizing on prior experience working for Youth MOVE Maine, she advocated for and incorporated youth voice into all elements of system change, understanding that the well-being of young people hinges on their participation across all levels of program development and enhancement. She is a strong believer in working with youth as equal partners and pushing for policies and services that will improve the lives of young people.
Matt started doing youth advocacy and educational programming when he was 18-years-old through the Upward Bound Program at the University of Maine. As a former student, Matt utilized his experience to work with youth who were low-income and first-generation achieve their educational aspirations. After 10 years of working with Upward Bound, Matt graduated with his with a Master’s in Intermedia with a focus on mental health and art as well as a Master’s in Education with a focus on accessto education. Using both professional and educational experience, he went on to work with Youth MOVE Maine as a program coordinator working with youth around the state in systems of care to provide peer support and community integration services. Eventually, he became the operating manager for the statewide program, overseeing staff, training, and contracts. Matt now serves as the Communications Coordinator at Youth MOVE National, working on branding the message of youth voice in everything that YMN and YM Chapters do. When Matt is not at the computer, he can be found in an escape room, a concert, in front of the TV with a video game controller, or on an adventure with his family.
Shayn’s passion for youth advocacy and social change is rooted in their many lived experiences and involvement in systems throughout their lifetime. As a queer young adult and trauma survivor, Shayn is particularly invested in education and advocacy around LGBTQ2-S+ communities, and actively seeks to highlight and address the impact of trauma and systemic oppression with the intention of creating greater change. Their involvement in the mental health system in particular motivates them to continue expanding awareness around the diversity of human experiences, and they believe that every person is deserving of community and self-determined support. Prior to joining Youth MOVE National, Shayn worked as the Youth Advocacy Coordinator for the Zia Young Adult Access Center—a Massachusetts-based, youth-led peer support and resource connection center that educated and advocated around youth advocacy and system change. When not working, Shayn enjoys spending time with their cat and watching notoriously bad horror movies. They also love philosophical conversations and contemplating the nature of the universe.
Victoria comes to Youth MOVE National as a Licensed Social Worker in New York State but also with family lived experience. As a young person starting her career, she was lucky to begin working as a Youth Engagement Specialist with Chautauqua County, NY System of Care that not only taught her about the importance of systems change work but led her to fall in love with the acknowledgement and encouragement that people with lived experience should always be heard. Victoria brings her strong background in System of Care implementation, suicide prevention and trauma informed care to the Youth MOVE National team. As Victoria loves to talk and share her passion for this work, you can also find her teaching undergraduate mental health classes at SUNY Fredonia. When Victoria is not working, she loves to spend time with family, garden, go backpacking, or hit up the gym with friends.
Jasmine became interested in youth and family voice once she noticed the limited power young adults have in decision-making. She began sharing her and her family’s experiences in the mental health system in order to advocate for youth. Prior to joining Youth MOVE National, her advocacy led her to become the director of Youth MOVE Michigan, supporting Youth MOVE Detroit, and providing technical assistance to local systems of care and tribal youth groups. When she’s off the clock, Jasmine moonlights as a local entertainment promoter and can put together a playlist of good music you haven’t heard before. One of her favorite movies is the Transformers series because Bumblebee reminds her of her first car she named John Shaft.
Tymber Hudson is a storyteller, strategist, and multidisciplinary artist based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tymber is deeply committed to centering, uplifting, and empowering Black LGBTQ+ communities to abolish systems that perpetuate trauma and oppression. Through all of their work, Tymber puts the community at the center of the design of policy and practice that impacts their daily lives. Tymber served as the LGBTQ+ policy associate at the Biden Foundation where they designed and managed a database with more than 500 digital story submissions for “As you Are”: A national storytelling and public education campaign discussing family acceptance and the harms of family rejection. They also provided technical assistance and research support to other national youth-serving organizations working to implement LGBTQ+ inclusion and equity into their programs, policies, and practices. Tymber continues to use their personal experience and knowledge to educate and ignite change for all young people.
Te Jay brings many years of professional and lived experience to the Youth MOVE team. Not only has he directly served and supported many types of young adults, especially those experiencing homelessness, he has worked on policy changes when it comes to LGBTQ+ initiatives, anti-bullying efforts, and public health inequities. Te Jay has been performing all around southern California as his drag persona, Tia Wanna, for over 9 years. Originally from Hawaii, Te Jay is a Korean American who now resides in Los Angeles where he has called home for over a decade.