Rockstar Highlight: Youth MOVE Virginia

Part of our annual Rockstar celebration is to honor a Youth MOVE chapter that is doing exceptional work. Our chapters are diverse when it comes to purpose areas, funding structures, hosted organizations, geographic areas, populations served, and many other factors. This is one of the things that make our network so powerful; that advocacy happens with such a variety of resources and people advocating for youth services. We are proud of the work that all of our chapters do and are honored to be a part of this MOVEment!

Last year, Youth MOVE Virginia was the recipient of the Chapter of the Year Rockstar Award. Hosted by NAMI Virginia, YMV has come a long way as one of our local chapters!

Sophia Booker, Youth Leader – Youth MOVE Virginia

From the 2019 Nomination

Youth MOVE Central Virginia has come such a long way as a local chapter. They are well known and respected within the local community. Over the years they’ve developed two annual events/fundraisers that have become very successful. The first is the car wash. This is a widely advertised event, where community members have the opportunity to bring their cars in to UMFS (the location of the monthly youth group) and get them washed by the youth who participate in the group. What makes this event especially cool is the amount of support it gets from the local community. Not only do others volunteer to help wash cars, but they are lined up around the block waiting to support the YM chapter! This past year, the group was able to raise over $450!! The sheer joy and pride seen on their faces when all the money was counted was truly priceless! The second event is the Annual Showcase. This is an opportunity for the youth group participants to “showcase” their talents. Youth sing, dance and read poetry. They also MC the event (which is basically it’s own comedy act). The youth are involved with ever step of the planning and execution process. From planning the timeline, decorations, colors and theme. They collectively decided on this year’s theme: “Indestructible Resiliency.” Audience members include parents, foster parents, caregivers and members of the community. This past Showcase was one of the most successful yet! With over 100 people in the audience, a solid group of youth and young adults each performed on stage. There were several instances where the youth performed together. There was one young man who was particularly shy, and 2/3 other group members provided “back up” to him as he sang. This was all figured out prior to the show, as the group had a number of dress rehearsals. Like the car wash, this event has become a staple of the chapter’s activity and community presence. Members of both the youth group and local community have been heard saying that it’s their “favorite time of year.” This group has come such a long way in terms of cohesion, youth voice and leadership. Over the years, some clear leaders have emerged (possibly the next facilitators). The group collectively identifies “as a family” and wears the Youth MOVE name with pride!

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