Bridging Voices & Building Futures

by Alex Damm-Loring & Courtney Kerry

In founding the Youth Action Board (YAB), we embarked on a journey that goes beyond the challenges of homelessness; it's about recognizing the profound impact that comes from elevating the voices of those who have lived through it. The strength of the Charlotte County YAB lies in its core belief: those who have faced homelessness are not just beneficiaries of change; they are its architects.

This past year has been a testament to the transformative power of the YAB. Together we took on the monumental task of ranking all CoC projects, streamlining processes, fostering collaboration, and ensuring that every project receives the attention it deserves. This collaborative effort laid the foundation for effective decision-making, guiding us toward meaningful solutions.

Our commitment to empowerment was further exemplified through the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP), which served more than 100 youth in 2023. It's a testament to our dedication to providing support and resources for the next generation, allowing them to thrive and contribute meaningfully to our community.

The YAB's work goes beyond addressing homelessness; it's about changing the narrative around it. We are building a community where young voices lead the charge, using personal stories not just to highlight issues but to drive systemic change. The YAB is a living example of the power of listening to those who understand the struggle most intimately, ensuring that their insights are at the forefront of our mission.

In leading an education convening, we emphasized that our journey is about more than disseminating knowledge; it's about nurturing a culture of continuous learning and growth. This platform allowed for the exchange of ideas, where expertise merged, enriching our collective understanding and paving the way for innovation.

As we celebrate our achievements, we acknowledge the profound lessons learned from serving on the YAB: real change requires us to listen, learn, and act based on the expertise of those who have lived it. It's a model that challenges the status quo, pushing us all to think differently about leadership, advocacy, and our collective capacity to make a difference.

Thank you for your support and commitment. Together, as a united community, we are building a future that is brighter, more inclusive, and led by the voices of the next generation of leaders.


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