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What It Means to Be a Youth MOVE National Board Member

My name is Rae, and I serve on the Youth MOVE National Board of Directors. If I’m being completely honest, I could never have envisioned this as the direction my life would go in.

I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts. I had both my parents, my brother, and lots of animals to love and support me. Despite my positive upbringing, I still felt lost. I struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts by the time I was 8 years old.

My first hospitalization came when I was 10 years old. I spent my eleventh birthday there. I remember feeling so broken, so lonely. I didn’t want to continue on if this is what life would be like. After my hospitalization, I was struggling to find a new school to attend. Unfortunately, the school I chose wound up to be a nightmare.

I was assaulted in sixth grade by another classmate. I wanted to curl into myself, hide away. My school told me to stop talking about it. They told me it didn’t happen. I couldn’t figure out why they wanted so badly to get away from this.

At 15, I began a five-year relationship that would eventually become abusive. I loved him so much that I started defending the awful things he said and did. At 20, I was finally free. That’s when my potential really started to pop up.

I’d been a part of Youth MOVE Massachusetts for two years at this point. They were so amazingly supportive and made me feel like my story was one worth sharing. I started to really engage in their activities, and I even ended up getting a contractor position as their Youth Advocate Specialist. Because of their support and guidance, I am now a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) and have multiple trainings under my belt.

Being on the Youth MOVE National Board of DIrectors has been such a magnificent experience. I am part of something bigger than myself. It is something I have only ever dreamed about doing, and now that dream is a reality. I want to share my story in hopes that someone will read this and keep fighting.

To every young adult out there struggling to find your purpose: you have one. I believe in your potential. No matter how far away your dreams seem, take a leaf out of a rear-view mirror’s book. Tell yourself, “The dreams I have are closer than they appear.” Here’s to growth and dream-chasing for all of us.

Youth MOVE National’s Board of Directors is currently recruiting new youth members. Interested in joining a dedicated team and guiding the growth of the youth movement? Apply today.

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