Panel plans programs for youth

WARREN — The Voices of Youth Committee is looking to hold local events and programs geared to helping area youth with their needs and concerns.

The committee, which meets bi-monthly at the YWCA of Warren, has scheduled events for the fall and has discussed groups being formed to help teens and young adults with such issues as home management, personal safety, personal care, conflict resolution and goal setting.

The Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board initiated conversations around the unique needs of youth and young adults in transition in the behavioral health system during the early 1990s, which evolved into the Voices of Youth Committee.

The committee consists of members of all identified sectors working with this unique population, rather than just behavioral health providers.

The committee identifies gaps in Trumbull County’s social services system, make sure that youth ages 16 to 24 do not “fall through the cracks,” and better manage the referral processes.

Laura Domitrovich, chair of the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board, said local agencies and organizations want to reach out to and work with local young people.

Jordan McGee, peer support worker with Homes for Kids in Niles, said Youth Move is a youth-led group ages 14 to 21 that meets to advocate for social justice on what effects their lives.

”They give a younger perspective on various issues,” he said.

McGee said he attended a recent social workers roundtable event in Columbus on different ways to get in touch with the youth and get their perspectives was explained.

A Mahoning County Youth Move chapter is in the works.

Domitrovich said there are efforts to reach youth age 18 to 21 at the Trumbull Career and Technical Center in Champion and Rivergate High School in Warren.

”We want to recruit those who can share with others their life experiences and address concerns of young people. This will allow for career support,” she said.

Christine LePosa, clinical program supervisor with Valley Counseling HEARTS Program of the Valley, said the program offers assistance to young adults 16 to 24 who are transitioning to independent living and self-sufficiency.

”We want to assist our youth in new ways. We ask them what they would like to discuss,” she said.

Youth meet to discuss home management, personal safety, personal care, conflict resolution, goal setting, job maintenance, transportation. LePosa said there will be college visits.

A new program is Motivating Others through Voices of Experience (MOVE), to run for 12 weeks with discussions on educating on core issues of young people.

”We want to get young people involved and have a voice in the community,” she said.

Various programs and services are provided by COMPASS Family and Community services including work force development, behavioral health, guardianship, permanent supportive housing and financial education services.

Open Access provides walk in services for those age 18 and under with the children’s office located at 318 Mahoning Ave.

Vince Brancaccio, chief executive officer with Help Network of Northeast Ohio, formerly Help Hotline Crisis Center, said there are a variety of resources and referrals for services.

”We started in 1971 and have grown in what we do and have a data base of services. We are a community of caring people. We have guardianship programs where we are responsible for 160 people and help them pay their bills. Help people needing food and shelter, or offer suicide prevention assistance,” he said.

He said for those with physical disabilities and mental health issues there are those who can help them.