"We must be the change we wish to see in the world." Mahatma Gandhi
The Start of a MOVEMENT
In 2014, Youth Rising (YR) was a grassroots effort planted by local youth, parents and agencies in Klamath County. The movement was formed by those who saw a gap in services for teens, and the need for a vehicle where young people could use their voices, discovered strengths, and lived experiences to improve outcomes and opportunities for themselves and for their peers.
- YR began as an incubator project inspired by a local parent and non-profit professional, Tasha Meyer, and with funding support by Executive Director-Wanda Powless and Marta's House.
- Tasha met with a hand-full of youth at Kingdom Coffeehouse... it was here where the true focus and concept of Youth Rising was birthed.
- YR was one of four agencies in Oregon chosen to complete Youth-Action Participatory Action Research pilot projects in partnership with Oregon Health Authority. Over 30 diverse youth researched community issues impacting young people and graduation rates. They surveyed young people in the downtown area and there was a consensus that vulnerable young people needed a safe place where they could "just be". A place where they could learn new things, express themselves creatively, or connect with others.
- YR became a 501 (c)3 non-profit corporation.
- YR was awarded a 5-year federal grant from Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration totaling $625k. This enabled YR and the Founder to hire a Program Coordinator to help assist in the Executive Director in the development of new Youth Rising programs.
- The grant also helped YR to work on expanding their prevention and coalition efforts to reduce youth-substance abuse, suicide, and violence affecting young people in Klamath County.
- Integral Youth Services believed in the vision and the need for a permanent place and provided an in-kind space for a year to give YR an opportunity to establish a pilot teen center.
- In the Fall of 2016, a permanent storefront space on Main Street in the Integral Youth Services building became available and the piloted teen center found a permanent facility to open up as the YR Drop-in Center.
- In the Fall of 2016, YR was awarded a grant from the Ford Family Foundation and a 4-year federal prevention grant that would enable the hiring an Assistant Director and a Director of Prevention & Research. YR was also able to continue developing evidence-based programs and strategies to integrate into the community and on school campuses in an effort reduce underage drinking, substance abuse, suicide, and poor mental health.