Martin experienced homelessness throughout his childhood and into his teen years. Following the Thurston High School shooting the school district initiated widespread mental health screenings. Martin was diagnosed with depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and Bipolar Disorder. The prescribed course of treatment was immediate, intense, and ultimately not the kind of support that worked for Martin. However, he found something that did work, almost two years later: community-based treatment.
As a young adult Martin worked with Positive Youth Development, an organization focusing on homeless and runaway populations. Martin now serves as the Executive Director of Youth M.O.V.E. Oregon. Under his leadership, YMO has established drop-in centers, programs, and support services across the state of Oregon. His voice and message have greatly contributed to the growing national youth advocacy movement and his story continues to inspire new generations of young people to create change.
Martin believes that one of YMO’s greatest strengths is the ability to give young people the skills and opportunities necessary for a successful transition into adulthood. He hopes that YMO puts young adults in a position to make an impact in the real world, whether that be as members of a committee, fundraisers, public speakers, artists, volunteers, etc. Martin acknowledges that young adults often feel weary of adult interference in youth-serving systems and believes in the power of “peer-delivered” services. He maintains that the most effective way to support the young adult population is for young people to reach out to and support each other.
Martin also currently sits on the national board of CAFETY (Community Alliance For the Ethical Treatment of Youth) and Reachout.com’s youth board. In 2010, Martin won the Mental Health Award of Excellence from AMH and the OCHH Ma Curtis Award. Now, he continues to work towards improving services and systems that support positive young adult development.