NAMI San Diego was recently awarded funding for a grantee partnership from Elevate Youth California to mobilize youth leadership in both San Diego and Imperial Counties. Elevate Youth California is a statewide program supporting community leaders who are addressing substance misuse conditions by investing in the youth leadership development and activism of underserved youth ages 12 to 26. Focused populations include (but are not limited to) foster youth, justice involved youth, youth of color, Latinx youth, homeless, disconnected, and LGBTQ+ youth. Our youth are talented, capable, and ready to lead. The essence of youth empowerment and leadership is not doing for but with, echoing the call of “nothing about us without us.”
The following presentations work well for youth groups in any one of these settings – afterschool program, school clubs, mentoring groups, faith-based youth groups, sports or academic teams, etc.
– Our social justice driven youth leadership development series seeks to dismantle structural inequities. Student connectedness to school and community is addressed through youth leadership development via delivery of a 5-part training on Student Self-Leadership delivered by credible messengers and peer mentors. Curriculum emphasizes social emotional learning competencies while outcomes teach soft skills (making connections, empathy for self and others) and hard skills (problem solving, goal setting, teamwork/collaboration). Students learn through a proven leadership model to self-diagnose development levels, match leadership styles, and ask for what they need. Students learn from peer mentors about impacting policy through peer led youth empowerment and leadership development.
– We address the topics of stigma, co-occurring mental health and substance misuse conditions, and suicide prevention through community collaborations that include Mental Health Awareness multi-media presentations, education about medication assisted treatment (MAT) options, and other Harm Reduction Awareness information.