Remembering the Youth Network Initiative Convening
Reno Youth Network has Transitioned to Eddy House - Concluding the First Community Foundation Initiative By Margaret Stewart In my career with the Community Foundation, a January night in 2014 stands out. The evening we hosted the first Community Conversation for the Youth Network Initiative (YOU'N-I), I learned the power of convening and realized the possibility and process for real change. Seated across the round table from me were several struggling young people who were openly motivated to attend for the opportunity to earn a $20 stipend and dinner on us. On my left sat a major community donor, and on the right, two women who worked in community health. Our table was one of many in the Boys and Girls Club gym filled with more than 100 people. As we got to know each other and dug into our table topic, barriers lifted, eyes met and empathy became visible on each face. Listening to stories from young people living on the streets, I learned how they navigate the challenges of the system when their backpacks containing their IDs are stolen, and how they are targeted for violence once the sun goes down. I witnessed my respected nonprofit colleagues as they processed these stories, advocating for change and right there at the moment - creating a path forward. That night our community worked together to listen to, involve, and help struggling young people, many without parents, some living on the streets, some barely getting by. It was an honor to be part of the birth of what is now a community collaboration of nonprofits working together, from different perspectives for a common mission. YOU'N-I recently concluded and the Eddy House is now managing RenoYouthNetwork.com, a database of free resources for youth who are homeless or struggling. Read Nick Tscheekar's blog about the Reno Youth Network and its transition to the Eddy House.