On Sept. 9, the Los Angeles Opportunity Youth Collaborative (OYC) Young Leaders led and participated in the Young Adults, Past Trauma, and Foster Care Town Hall. Their conversation centered on ways young people are coping with school, work and personal relationships in the midst of a pandemic and social unrest. The OYC Young Leaders have already expressed interest in holding additional virtual conversations between young people and professionals. Click here to access the audio recording and partner resources.
Along with a young adults panel, the town hall also featured mental health professionals with experience helping children and youth in the foster care system. Mary R. Barrazza with the LA County Department of Mental Health, Samuel Gonzalez with Hathaway-Sycamores, and Ani Argasyan with Wayfinder Family Services, shared their advice on how to make the best out of these difficult times.
The OYC Young Leaders are young adults (ages 18-26) who have experienced foster care and extended foster care. The program is a one-year paid leadership academy designed to teach advocacy skills, trauma-informed training in public speaking and strategic storytelling. Through regular meetings, activities, training and active participation in various OYC efforts, members are empowered to use their collective experience to champion the needs of teens and young adults in foster care and to become impactful change agents in the Los Angeles community. Young Leaders are compensated as experts who participate in a variety of workgroups, as co-facilitators and participants of young adult focus-groups, and in public testimony in support of legislation or policy recommendations. This year, the Young Leaders have been invited to become members of the DCFS’ Director’s Advisory Council and have met remotely with the Director to share their perspectives on improving services for transitional age youth (i.e.,TAY).
As the pandemic unfolds, the OYC Young Leaders continue to provide their expertise and voice in developing fact sheets to translate public safety net benefits and resources into a youth-friendly voice to help youth navigate the support and services available to them during the pandemic. The following fact sheets have provided valuable information on various topics and reached thousands of individuals:
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet
- Youth Unemployment Benefits Fact Sheet
- Youth Stimulus Check Fact Sheet
- COVID-19 Symptoms and Testing Resources Fact Sheet
- 2020 Census and Why it Matters
For more information on the OYC Young Leaders Program, please contact them at [email protected].