What happens when you get youth leaders in one room?

They start a movement.

In 2007, the National Youth Development Board (NYDB)—a committee of youth and young adults that was formed to advise system of care grantees on youth engagement—realized they needed to do more than just advise. They saw the power of the NYDB convening youth together and sharing their own voices of experience and the need for a national, formalized entity.

Mission and vision statements (that still closely mirror ours till this day) were formed. A logo was developed. T-shirts were printed (this was a huge deal). And during one of the development retreats, rumor has it someone tattooed the new logo on their arm.

There was no going back now. Youth MOVE National was born.

The Formative Years.

Housed as a program within the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (NFFCMH), YMN spent the next few years building partnerships, fundraising, and even making temporary tattoos (which, like T-shirts, was also a huge deal).

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provided funding for the Dare to Dream America program. YMN’s recognition program, the Rockstar Awards, was developed in honor of those who led the path thus far. Maryland piloted a version of a Youth MOVE chapter, and in 2009, the official first three Youth MOVE chapters were accepted—in New Jersey, Florida, and Oregon.

Youth MOVErs sold 50/50 raffle tickets and T-shirts at conferences to fundraise for this new venture.

And then came time to register as a 501(c)3.

The Path to Independence.

Youth MOVE National started the fall of 2012 as an independent, 501(c)3 organization. The Board of Directors hired three staff positions—an Executive Director, a Director of Member Services, and a Director of Resource and Development.

In the following years, YMN went from sponsoring youth tracks at conferences to hosting and leading the youth track at Training Institutes 2014 (and will do so again at Training Institutes 2018). It more than doubled the amount of initial staffers, secured more funding, and accepted dozens more chapters into its network.

We Believe That…

Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow—they are the leaders of today.

Youth deserve to be equal partners in the process of change.

Youth are individuals. Not cases.

Youth can motivate others through voices of experience.

Today and Tomorrow

Today, there are more than 60 Youth MOVE chapters nationwide, all focusing on issues that are unique to the youth and young adults in their local communities. We work with a robust group of partners, including the TA Network, the Children’s Mental Health Initiative, the Caring for Every Child’s Mental Health Campaign, the BRSS TACS TA Center, and the LGBTQ Quality Improvement Center. And we’re committed to engaging young adults with lived experience to use their voice and transform the very systems that serve them.