Youth advocates launch awareness campaign

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AUGUSTA — Maine’s premiere youth advocacy group, Youth Motivating Others through Voices of Experience, with a central office in Lewiston, launched its 2010 public awareness campaign at the Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day celebration, May 6, in the State House Hall of Flags.

Youth MOVE Lead Ryun Anderson explained the history of the youth movement in Maine. Member Jenn McLaughlin introduced the public service message “You Decide!” now airing via community access television to more than 100,000 households in 34 Maine communities.

McLaughlin, Allie Spear, Rodney Keisman and Brendon Venable read the awareness campaign kickoff poem, “Shift your mind, drive your dreams,” written by Stephanie Knaus-Tucker, Venable and McLaughlin.

NASCAR Pro Series rookie driver Travis Dunbar described his life from chaotic home life to teenage track star to a two-time All-American with hopes of an Olympic run whose running hopes ended when he suffered a brain injury in an auto accident. After several years of rehabilitation, he became a race car owner and driver and now spokesman and mentor for the Youth MOVE Maine Racing Team.

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Through youth-adult partnerships, Youth MOVE trains providers, collaborates with family members, advocates in the community and works with policy makers and program administrators to enhance governance and evaluation.

“We are always getting new members that come from backgrounds where they don’t have access to resources,” said member Matt Brooks, “and Youth MOVE is a perfect place for them to find the help that they need.”

The Youth MOVE Racing Team’s 2010 season opener is scheduled for 6:30 pm Saturday, May 29, at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough.

Youth MOVE Maine, the state chapter of Youth Move National, works to ensure that youth in Maine’s youth-serving systems are prepared for life. Youth MOVE Maine is dedicated to the redevelopment of systems and services, and advocates for youth to use their power and expertise to make change within their communities and within their own lives.

For more information, visit www.youthmovemaine.org.

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