YouForward is an innovative program serving young adults ages 16-25 who experience or are at risk of developing serious mental health concerns who have “fallen through the cracks” of traditional supports and services. The program is designed to be flexible, offer low/no barrier access to services and supports, and to rapidly respond and link young people to needed resources. YouForward operates Drop-in Centers in Lawrence and Haverhill in addition to providing evidence based/informed services, Peer Mentors, and youth leadership and development opportunities. The program is currently funded by a grant from SAMHSA and implemented by the Department of Mental Health in collaboration with 2 primary partner agencies. The program will transition to a braided stream of funding sources by October of 2019.
Utilizing personal lived experience, the Peer Mentor will assist with: Outreach and engagement activities including staffing the drop-in centers at YouForward, educating community members and agencies regarding youth-driven teams, supporting young adults to run their Wraparound Team, and increasing community awareness of young adult mental illness
- Provide immediate support to Transitional Age Young Adults at YouForward.
- Collaborate with local and state resources for Transitional Age Youth to ensure current information is accessible at YouForward.
- Facilitate and/or participate on Wraparound teams and other meetings, as requested by a young adult.
- Provide “Achieve My Plan” (AMP) coaching
- Assist team members in partnering with, engaging, and retaining young adults in necessary services. (This may include providing transportation to meetings when needed and appropriate.)
- Orient team members to the value of using a youth driven framework when working with young adults.
- Welcome and engage young adults who are visiting the drop-in centers, working with colleagues to maintain a safe and positive drop-in community.
- Extensive lived experience in effectively coping with a serious mental health condition, as a youth, and demonstrated success in having learned how to obtain community resources and support systems to achieve enhanced life skills as evidenced by either receiving or having received mental health services in the past and demonstrating self-knowledge to manage that mental illness with an established recovery process.
- Demonstrated ability to successfully establish supportive relationships with young adults who have persistent mental illnesses
- Demonstrated ability to advocate and secure necessary community resources and support by modeling, assisting and educating the young adult and his/her support members on how to access community resources and support in order to enhance life skills
- Proven ability to effectively assist the young adult and their caregivers or other support networks in understanding the scope and services of what is available to them, as well as the young adult’s role and responsibilities within this context.
- Demonstrated ability to effectively assist young adult to identify informal supports
- Demonstrated ability to effectively coach young adult to advocate for their educational needs
- Demonstrated ability to effectively collaborate with young adults to help teach how to self-advocate within other systems such as the courts, state agencies and community organizations as evidenced by improvement in the young adult
- Openness to working with diverse mental health issues and diverse families and cultures in a sensitive and competent manner.
- Proven experience working collaboratively with a team and community services
- Mature, responsible individual capable of working independently, or within a team structure.
- Willingness and ability to work flexible hours as needed to be available to young adults/families at times that are convenient for them.
- Talented at engaging others, and willing to work with team members, parents, families and young adults as full partners.
As a leading Human Services provider, JRI offers a comprehensive, competitive benefits package including medical, dental, life, accidental death and dismemberment and long-term disability insurance, health and dependent care flexible spending accounts, 401K package, company sponsored pension plan, generous paid time off and a tuition reimbursement program.