Youth ‘N Action is a Statewide youth advocacy program that brings youth voice to public policy and empowers at risk youth ages 14-24 to make differences in their lives, communities and systems that serve youth
In June, 2010, following the dissolution of Statewide Action for Family Empowerment Washington (SAFE-WA), Youth ‘N Action’s previous fiscal umbrella, YNA partnered with University of Washington’s Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy to become the new administrative home base for Youth ‘N Action.
The UW provides Youth ‘n Action an organizational infrastructure that will help the program grow and flourish. They provide resources through administrative support, office and meeting space, access to technology and program evaluation and design. UW offers invaluable experience in program implementation of peer driven supports and the ability to consult in a wide array of technical issues, as well as existing connections with possible stakeholders in the courts, schools, mental health centers, juvenile justice, family support organizations and children’s mental health.
YNA has branched off into two regions--Eastern and Western Washington Youth ‘N Action. Western Washington Youth ‘N Action is run out of the Division of Behavioral Health and Justice Policy at the University of Washington and has 3 official community-based affiliate programs in Thurston, Mason, and King counties as well as a leadership team that oversees Western Washington YNA and its activities.
Through it all, the mission and goal of YNA remains the same: To bring youth voice to public policy and empower at-risk youth ages 14-24 to make positive differences in their lives, their communities, and systems that serve youth. YNA is a youth-driven organization surrounded by youth-friendly adults and professionals who provide support to the youth to help them create the positive outcomes they desire. YNA provides youth with a variety of opportunities to make a positive difference.
Five core functions of YNA
Youth Leadership - YNA provides youth with opportunities to give more, grow positively and become leaders in their communities, amongst their peers and in their own lives. This is accomplished through opportunities to be part of YNA as well as through YNA’s efforts to support youth to participate in community and state activities on behalf of other youth and to serve as leaders within their own local organizations.
Technical Assistance and Outreach – YNA provides communities, service providers, policy makers, youth and family serving organizations, and youth with training and technical assistance so that they can effectively complete their own missions. YNA also supports other youth organizations to be part of a collaborative network focused on youth involvement and youth voice in public policy in Washington State.
Advocacy – YNA actively organizes youth to develop political and policy positions that are relevant to improving the health and well-being of at-risk youth in the state. YNA then organizes youth to advocate for achieving legislative, policy, and service provision change in these priority areas.
Peer Support - YNA organizes youth to provide one-on-one or group based support to peers in order to address individual needs and build upon individual strengths, and to encourage the healthy development of young adults as they transition to adulthood by meeting their needs for positive social interaction and connecting them to resources that can help them (e.g., housing, mental health services, employment, education, etc). YNA investigates and promotes the use of youth peer-to-peer support techniques that are based on evidence for effectiveness.
Accountability and Sustainability – YNA is committed to being an accountable and effective organization. YNA accomplishes this function by (1) setting goals with measurable outcomes and using this process to ensure that its functions and planned activities are actually done, (2) evaluating its effectiveness, and (3) promoting its effectiveness and accomplishments in a way that ensure that YNA can continually expand the influence of the organization.