After many years working on substance use recovery issues, my work has shifted to substance use prevention and early intervention. With a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, a team at the Center for Social Innovation is developing and testing Project Amp, a substance use prevention model. Project Amp seeks to delay or prevent substance use among teenagers by enhancing protective factors through brief mentorship with a young adult in recovery.This innovative program applies recovery assets within a prevention framework; explores the effect that brief peer-based relationships have on behavior change; and enhances an integrated health care approach: Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT).
This post is first in a series of stories from youth about their experiences of homelessness and resiliency. Thank you to each of the authors who have so generously shared personal details of their lives for the benefit of others. We are inspired by their courage and hopes for the future. We must learn from their stories and partner with them to implement effective, meaningful solutions.
When I was 21, I was living in a group home run by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in the South End of Boston. I had been living there for a few years and was growing more and more frustrated with my situation. I didn’t have a lot of freedom to have friends and to do stuff that I felt other 21 year olds were doing. I couldn’t even have my cell phone when I was in the house. I knew my time with DCF was coming to an end. Maybe I was also scared and nervous about what was going to happen next since we had done little to no planning. I mostly felt frustrated and wanted my freedom.
I recently developed a training for future homeless shelter staff with members of Y2Y Harvard Square's Young Adult Advisory Council. After discussing past mistakes service providers have made in interacting with them, we put their words of wisdom and advice on paper. Our goal was to catalyze productive conversations between service providers and users.
Securing legislative funding to address homelessness can feel like a roller coaster. In Massachusetts, provider and peer activists have spent the last five years fighting for resources for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness, with ups and downs along the way.