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September 08, 2022

Creating & Sustaining a Youth Advocacy Board

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Youth engagement is a key strategy for preventing gender-based violence. Young people have always been on the front lines of our social justice movements, pushing us to be bolder and more innovative. We need young people to move this work forward. True intergenerational partnership that values what each person brings to the table is a beautiful thing.

It is particularly important to include young people’s voices when planning any youth-serving programs. As the saying coined by disability rights activists goes, “nothing about us without us.” Any attempts to work with or on behalf of young people (or any other marginalized group) that do not center their voices and experiences will fall flat. Or worse—they will replicate the anti-Blackness, ageism, and other forms of oppression that advocates and activists seek to dismantle. 

Click here to read more about Youth Advocacy Boards (YAB)—particularly about a YAB strategy that amplifies Black youth in your programming. Topics & tips include

Forming Your YAB:

  1. Identify desired results. What do you want the youth advisory board to accomplish and/or learn? Remember, youth should be empowered to work on projects that feel meaningful to them. Perhaps your board will be interested in a dating violence prevention campaign on social media. Maybe they will want to focus on ending the school to prison pipeline for Black girls. Keep an open mind and follow their lead!
  2. Determine acceptable evidence. How will you know that the YAB is accomplishing its goals? Will it work to complete a specific project? Will youth complete exit surveys at the end of their time on the board to assess whether they viewed their work as worthwhile? Consider what will make sense for your circumstances.
  3. Engage in student activities. This is the time to do the work that your YAB set out to accomplish. For best outcomes, NYLC encourages organizations to follow the eight service-learning standards for quality practice: meaningful service, link to curriculum (if working within an education setting), reflection, diversity, youth voice, partnerships, progress monitoring, and duration and intensity.
  4. Self-assessment. What worked well during this process? What didn’t? Be sure to note lessons learned and to look for ways to deepen your support of youth leaders.

Considerations for Sustaining the Work of the YAB:

    • Center those most marginalized. 
    • Move back and let youth lead. 
    • Build authentic relationships with your YAB members. 
    • Engage in self-reflection in order to be a good adult ally. 
    • Invest in YAB members’ well-being. Compensate them! 

This article is a revised (shortened) version of the excellence written by Breckan Winters, a community changemaker & caretaker who works with NRCDV as a Programs Specialist. We highly suggest reading the full article, which can be accessed here. Special thanks to the Idaho Youth For Change Collective for sharing this article with us in their last newsletter.


A History of Indigenous People & Reproductive Justice

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Last week, ViceNews Radio (VNR) shared a discussion on the history of Indigenous people & reproductive justice. We invite you to tune in to this episode of VNR, where producer Adreanna Rodriguez dives deep into the long history of Native people’s resistance & journey of reproductive well being; this feature also discusses one org’s fight to provide a full spectrum of reproductive healthcare for Native communities.

“Our ancestors have had abortion since time immemorial, since our creator put us here… and it’s not going to stop.”

After Roe v. Wade was overturned, many wondered what living in a post-Roe America would look like. But for a lot of Native people, Roe has never been a reality. Though the federal government is obligated to provide tribes with healthcare, decades-old restrictions on federal funding have severely limited the provision of abortion. 

Organizations like Indigenous Women Rising have been advocating for reproductive rights and abortion in Native communities for years. VICE News Reports’ Adreanna Rodriguez takes a dive deep into how IWR is filling the gap left by the government’s “long history of manipulating Native people’s reproductive well being…and how Native people have specific needs when it comes to reproductive justice”—needs that are deeply holistic and embedded in cultural history.

Click here to stream this episode, “Roe Was Never Enough”.

This episode was reported and produced by Adreanna Rodriguez in partnership with Type Investigations, where Adreanna is an Ida B. Wells Fellow. It was edited by Adizah Eghan, Noy Thrupkaew, Cassi Feldman, and Stephanie Kariuki, with research assistance from Paco Alvarez. Content from this piece comes directly from the VNR Instagram post & site description about this interview episode.


The Intersection of Human Trafficking & Substance Use*

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The relationship between substance use and human trafficking is complex and across the spectrum. Frequently, there are elements of force, fraud, and coercion. However, survivors often voluntarily use substances as a mechanism to cope with the physical and mental trauma of trafficking and some survivors used substances prior to their experience. There are many reasons a survivor of trafficking might seek help for their substance use. 
Service providers, including domestic and sexual violence programs, can play a key role in providing access to trauma-informed support for survivors through strategic partnerships with substance use services.
Futures Without Violence is hosting a webinar titled “Intersection of Human Trafficking and Substance Use: Trauma-Informed Care and Collaboration Strategies to Support Survivors”. This webinar will highlight collaborative strategies to support survivors in the state of Vermont and West Virginia communities, including rural areas. Of course, important notes can still be made specific to survivors in Idaho!
Learning Objectives: As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to
    • Describe the intersection of substance use and trauma with human trafficking in the context of domestic and sexual violence.
    • Apply a trauma-informed approach to support survivors of human trafficking.
    • Identify potential partnerships to support survivors of human trafficking who struggle with their substance use.
    • Explore strategies to enhance collaboration across barriers and challenges, based on the experience of communities in Vermont and West Virginia.
    • Utilize resources to help build or expand collaborations to support survivors of human trafficking.
Speakers: Dr. Aron Steward, PhD, MBA, Chief of Psychology Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, UVMHN & Co-chair of the Vermont Human Trafficking Taskforce; Katie Spriggs, MSW, Executive Director, Eastern Panhandle Empowerment Center & Chair of the Training Subcommittee for the West Virginia Human Trafficking Taskforce: Mónica Arenas, Program Manager, FUTURES
Click here to access the registration page for this webinar, which is taking place on Thursday, September 22nd (1:00 PM MST).

This information was shared by Futures Without Violence. Please feel welcome to share the registration link with your network. Have a question? The Building Collaborative Response to Human Trafficking Project is happy to provide technical assistance on community collaboration and working with human trafficking survivors. They can be reached at learning@futureswithoutviolence.org.

*NOTE: Were you trying to access the article, Idaho Advocacy: Updates & News? We had a link error, and now this article can be found here instead. Thank you for your grace, and thank you for reading Towards Thriving!


Training & Events

a black & white graphic of a microphone & sound waves (symbolizing a podcast, song, etc.)Let’s Replace Cancel Culture With Accountability | TEDx Talk

Sonya Renee Taylor explores the impact of calling out & calling in people who have caused harm. She offers us a third alternative – “calling on”. We often think that discerning someone’s intent is instinctual when it is just not the case. Taylor offers “calling on” as a method for naming harm & allowing each of us to carve our own pathway toward ACCOUNTABILITY & RESPONSIBILITY for our education & change.

Click here to stream this podcast episode.

a black & white icon of a calendarMonkeypox Vaccinations | September 10

Two of the Boise Pride sponsors, Central District Health & The Balcony Club, have come together to offer a Monkeypox Vaccine Clinic during the upcoming Boise Pride Festival at The Balcony Club (ages 21+), a queer venue that’s just a short distance from the festival grounds. Please share!

This event is taking place from 3:00-6:00 PM MST at The Balcony Club, 150 N. 8th St. #226. If you have questions, contact CDC Idaho.

a black & white icon of a calendarGrowing Safe Communities | September 17

Sawtooth Botanical Garden & The Advocates present Growing Safe Communities from awareness to action. Come make a terrarium & learn how we can all create a safe community! The workshop will be held in SBG’s beautiful greenhouse (in Ketchum) from 10:00-11:00 AM MST⁠.

Let’s explore the ways we can move from awareness to action! This event is FREE & includes all materials, as well as snacks & beverages.⁠ Space is limited to 20 people & pre-registration is required. ⁠Reserve your spot!

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Intersection of Human Trafficking & Substance Use | September 22

Futures Without Violence is hosting an online webinar titled “Intersection of Human Trafficking and Substance Use: Trauma-Informed Care and Collaboration Strategies to Support Survivors”. This webinar will highlight collaborative strategies to support survivors. This webinar is explained more in the above article (shared above “Training & Events”). If you’d like to access the registration page, click here.


Idaho Coalition Store Materials

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Reminder: Shipping for all materials on our website store is FREE for Programs. Please use the coupon below for all orders.

Visit the online store for the Idaho Coalition to check out what materials are available for order.

For store questions, please contact us.

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