Last week I traveled to National Harbor, Maryland to attend the 2014 Georgetown University Training Institutes on improving services and supports for children, adolescents, and young adults with or at risk for mental health challenges and their families, along with Reclaiming Futures Fellowship Program Manager, Christa Myers.
This year the conference theme was, “Improving Children’s Mental Health Care in an Era of Change, Challenge and Innovation: The Role of the System of Care Approach” with an estimated attendance of 2,000. Below are my key takeaways.
The Youth Movement Has Arrived
Both Youth M.O.V.E. National and local Youth M.O.V.E. chapters were well represented, along with many other youth organizations from around the country. On Thursday night the 2014 recipients of the Youth MOVE Rockstar Awards were announced. The recipients were:
- Niketa Currie, Youth M.O.V.E. North Carolina was named the 2014 Tricialouise Gurley-Millard Youth Advocate
- Dr. JoAnne Malloy, Institute On Disabilties was named the 2014 Dr. Gary M. Blau Professional of the Year
- The Kentucky Partnership for Families and Children was named the 2014 Youth Guided Organizational Rockstar
- Bruce Brumfield, Center for Community Alternatives was named the 2014 Marlene Matarese Advocate for Youth was named the 2014
- Youth M.O.V.E. Miami was named the 2014 National Chapter
- Gregory Foster was given the first ever Honorary Rockstar award for his continued dedication to youth and young adults who struggle with poverty and behavioral health needs.
And a special shout out to Youth M.O.V.E. Saginaw for contributing the soundtrack.
The Power of Storytelling
Storytelling is critical for organizations dealing with complex issues. The Power of Story Telling: Digital Voices in a Digital Age was a special presentation on the first day of the conference. This session showcased first person narrative video stories by youth from Washington state’s Youth N Action. The presentation provided guidance on integrating a storytelling component to youth programming and how the stories can be shared via social media and locally as a means to heal youth as well as sharing these voices with program and policy makers. Additional institutes and workshops on storytelling provided attendees with an opportunity to continue to refine their strategic communication strategy, while keynote presentations by Father Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries and Kevin Hines author of “Cracked, Not Broken” showed first-hand the impact of a personal narrative.
Digital Sharing Can Expand the Conversation
This year’s institute had a corresponding app, the “GU Training Institutes 2014” and attendees were encourage to share photos, lessons learned, complete surveys and also scan QR codes hidden throughout the conference to earn points and compete for prizes. Throughout the conference attendees shared photos and lessons learned with others via the apps news feed.
Since a goal of the conference was to provide in-depth, practical training on innovative approaches workshops and staff helped attendees learn how to use the app. Additional institutes and workshops focused on how social media channels could be leveraged to improve service delivery and how technology can reinforce quality and improve implementation fidelity.
Finally, I want to thank everyone that stopped by the Reclaiming Futures poster and shared your message and let us take your picture! Photo credits to Christa Myers.
Updated: March 21 2018