YMO MISSION AND VALUES
Mission: To unite and empower a diverse collective of young adults and assist them in creating personal, community, and system change.
Values: On the path to our mission the YMO staff exemplifies the following core values: equality, diversity, accessibility, advocacy, education, support, service, leadership, and self-empowerment.
Promise: We will constantly strive for better outcomes and real positive change in youth and young adult serving systems.
Founded in 2009, Youth M.O.V.E. (Motivating Others through Voices of Experience) Oregon (YMO) is a statewide, peer-led organization devoted to helping young adults ages 14-25 successfully transition into adulthood. YMO is the only 501(c) (3) non-profit under Youth M.O.V.E. National and is considered its leading state chapter, with direct services in most of Oregon’s major cities. YMO and its leaders continue to be well known and highly respected throughout the state and across the country for their efforts in youth advocacy.
Our goal is to assist and empower young adults as they work to navigate and improve youth-serving systems including (but not limited to):
● Mental Health
● Juvenile Justice
● Child Welfare
● Foster Care
All YMO programs and services encourage the amplification of young adult voices on the local, state and national level. We encourage young adults to use the skills they learn to give back to their communities and advocate for system change. Above all, we design our events, drop-in centers, and their respective programs to be inclusive spaces where young people can feel safe, empowered, supported, and heard.
Community counselor, Maj Hutchinson was outside of Thurston High School after the school shooting on May 21st 1998. In the aftermath she realized that the initial support methods used didn’t sufficiently reach all students. She believed that what the young adult population really needed were group-based support programs that were inclusive of“system-weary” youth. Some students were so deeply embedded in the system that they were considered “too far gone” for traditional youth-serving programs to invest in; they were effectively neglected. These youth were “the ones in between” and the ones Maj knew she had to help.
She worked with experts in the youth development field to create a curriculum that emulated the positive community-based attributes of gangs and centered on this neglected portion of the young adult population. This curriculum would later be called Leadership, Education, Adventure, Direction (LEAD).
The program excelled in popularity and the outcomes of it's participants. By 2003/2004 the youth in the program were seeing phenomenal results; the teen pregnancy rate was zero and the high school dropout rate was much lower than the rest of the county and still decreasing.
One of the program’s original members was a young man named Martin Rafferty. Martin excelled in LEAD at a very young age and quickly developed a close relationship with the organizations leadership.
The program had been extensively reviewed by the University of Oregon and considered highly effective. In 2009 Martin Rafferty found Youth M.O.V.E. Oregon and incorporated the LEAD curriculum into it's primary programming. YMO was the first Youth M.O.V.E. chapter to move to a direct service model and even today is still one of very few chapters to use this model.
YMO broke away from OFSN in 2013 and became its own independent organization by 2014. Youth M.O.V.E. Oregon remains the only chapter of Youth M.O.V.E. National to become its own 501(c)(3) non-profit.
Awards and Recognition for Youth M.O.V.E. Oregon
At YMO, we measure the success of our services and programs by how well we are able to support youth and young adults in their transition into adulthood. However, it is rewarding to be recognized by our peers for the work that we do in the community, across the state, and beyond. These are a few of the awards and accolades we’ve been honored to receive.
The Beverly “Ma” Curtis Award
In 2010, the Oregon Coalition on Housing and Homelessness (OCHH) awarded Executive Director, Martin Rafferty the Beverly “Ma” Curtis Award. This award recognizes a homeless or formerly homeless person for making a substantial contribution to ending youth homelessness.
Mental Health Award of Excellence
In 2010, Executive Director, Martin Rafferty was awarded the Mental Health Award of Excellence by Addictions and Mental Health (AMH). The award celebrates an individual’s contributions to increasing the resiliency of adults, youth, and their families and to supporting recovery from mental health challenges.
Youth M.O.V.E. Chapter of the Year
In 2013, after separating from Oregon Family Support Network (OFSN), YMO was named the Youth M.O.V.E Chapter of the Year. This is the highest honor awarded by Youth M.O.V.E. National.
International Winner for CYCC Best Practice Video Competition
In 2013, The Children and Youth in Challenging Contexts (CYCC) Network presented YMO with the award for best international video. YMO’s entry “Transition Aged Youth” highlighted the experiences of youth and young adults facing mental health challenges.
Advocate of the Year
In 2014, Executive Director, Martin Rafferty was named the Advocate of the Year by the Oregon Council of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (OCCAP).
Reynolds HS Business Partner Award
In 2015, after responding to help students cope after a tragic school shooting. Reynolds honored YMO with this award that celebrates community businesses and organizations. The Oregonian covered YMO's event at Reynolds which can be found by clicking here.
Keep Oregon Well Mental Health Hero
In 2016, YMO was honored to receive the Keep Oregon Well Mental Health Hero award from Trillium Family Services. The Mental Health Heroes awards celebrate the individuals, nonprofits, community organizations, and professionals who help to ensure that Mental and Behavioral healthcare thrive throughout the state of Oregon.