Youth Advocacy Squad (Y.A.S.) is a youth leadership group charged with the task of guiding the Human Services delivery system in Luzerne-Wyoming Counties.
Joining the Youth Advocacy Squad is a chance to stand firm and to be heard. By sharing our stories, we can point out issues within these services to those who can finally move forward with these changes to improve our overall experiences.
Members are youth & young adults (ages 14-18 and 18-29) with lived experience in emotional, behavioral & mental health, substance abuse or previous County System involvement. Our goal is to ensure better outreach programs for youth struggling with these issues by forming a group of youth leaders who advocate for better care by sharing their stories.
When the problems are highlighted by those with lived experience- it can’t be ignored. Imagine that the people who are in charge of making those policies are behind a veil. They never get to know who they serve, or how they are affected. By coming together and sharing our thoughts and experiences, we lift that veil to allow for a clearer view of our journeys.
YAS becomes a peer guidance program and works with raising awareness for substance abuse and mental/behavioral health. Youth will work with providers and agencies to better aid other youth dealing with mental health/substance abuse.
Youth trust that the community and providers will give them the most detailed and educated care they need. They are able to provide the best resources and education that they can. Adults in the youths’ lives are educated and trained on how to handle their needs. Youth are provided with information and aid in basic life skills as well as healthy coping methods and support from peers and the community.
Meet the Squad Leads:
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.”
A Little About Me:
I’m a college student studying Speech Therapy with an art minor. My experience lies mostly in suicide, domestic abuse, lgbtq+ issues, and invisible disability. I understand what it’s like to not know where to turn. This group is my way of helping others create positive experiences with mental health care and find their voice.
“You are the master of your destiny,
don’t let anyone take the wheel for
you or deem you powerless.”
A Little About Me:
I am currently studying Early Childhood Education at a local community college. I also work with local teens in the Youth Drop-In Center, coordinating activities and helping them build confidence. I have experience in foster care/adoption, being a loved one affected by substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence, and being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. I believe that everyone deserves to be heard and being a part of this movement is exactly where it counts most.
Tag us when you are moving forward in your goals and ambitions!
Together we are taking the steps toward a system that can better serve us. This hashtag represents our will to always strive in the face of challenges. We are the flowers that bloom from the cracks of concrete, strong enough to always push through. So no matter what’s in your way push #YASFowardAlways!
- National Suicide Prevention Call 1-800-273-8255
- Go to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ for text chats
- Northeast Counseling 570-735-7590
- CSC (children’s service center) 570-825-6425
- Community Counseling 570-552-6000
- Call 211(or text your zipcode to 898211) information and referral service; first response point for crisis calls 24/7