Tyanna McClain of Youth United (YU): Coping with COVID-19

Tyanna McClain of Youth United (YU): Coping with COVID-19
The outbreak of COVID-19 has created a lot of anxiety and uncertainty for all of us, including youth. The class of 2020 has been robbed of some of life’s most memorable moments - homecoming, prom and even high school graduation. During these stressful times, where cities have been locked down with social distancing in place, they find it hard to accept that life as they knew it, has drastically changed.
DWIHN’s Youth United (YU) is a youth-lead initiative whose purpose is to promote youth voice and partnerships as necessary solutions to meet the needs of young people and families in Wayne County.
The YU Council is comprised of young people between the ages of 14-25 that have past or present involvement in different systems of care i.e. foster care, juvenile justice, special education or mental health services. The Council assists policy makers with decisions regarding systems of care that affect youth and families. It participates in activities and projects aimed at moving the Wayne County System of Care (SOC) and Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) towards a Youth Driven System of Care.
Youth who participate in YU activities learn to be socially, mentally, and morally responsible and develop their abilities and strengths, while communicating and collaborating with leaders YU promotes positive development by preparing young people to be effective leaders in their communities.
Youth Advocate Kemarian Thacker said, “My role is bigger than me. Even when I leave Youth United, this is something I would like to keep a part of my life to help the next generation. I'm more than a Youth Advocate. I’m a mental health advocate.”
YU is staffed by Advocates who are charged with engaging other youth, promoting involvement at the community level, participating in system of care activities and educating stakeholders through their work.
YU supports the community by:
  • Creating change for youth in the system
  • Educating youth in the community about services and systems of care
  • Facilitating youth centered projects
  • Providing community resources
  • Providing Leadership training
Destinee Dale said, “ I wanted to better the system for youth in foster care. It's not easy being in the foster care system, not knowing what your rights are and where to go get help when you need it. If you're not mentally in the right place, how can you move to the next step of healing? Being the voice for the youth is why I became a Youth Advocate in the first place.”
Due to the Governor’s Executive Stay Home, Stay Safe Order, they are engaging young adults and the community virtually. Youth Advocates will be sharing more live videos on various topics, including:
  • Advice on Coping with COVID
  • COVID-19 information and related resources
  • Fun things to do at home
  • Staff and their roles
  • Virtual Courageous Conversation event
YU staff are also finding creative ways to use their downtime.
Tyanna McClain, Regional Youth Specialist has learned to cope by publishing her first book, "Imperfection is Perfection", which is now available on Amazon. This book is a 30-day challenge that explores self-love & self-care. It will take people on a journey of self-discovery while enhancing their self-care routine.
Sabbina Akhtar, Youth Advocate - Has been coping by doing arts and crafts, cooking, spending time with her family and doing lots of self-care activities.
For more information contact Brittany Horton, Youth Involvement Specialist at bhorton@dwihn.org. Like, follow and subscribe to their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts @WCYouthUnited for more information.

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