Connection and belonging begin here

From the Executive Director 
The holiday season brings a time to reflect upon the year. Things you did or didn’t do. Successes and failures. The things you’re thankful for and those you wish you could change.   

This year, as I look back, I am profoundly grateful for our dedicated staff and volunteers, our committed Board of Directors, and all of the MYC supporters who walk beside us, giving whenever and wherever needed.   
Your heartfelt support of our mission has grown us from a group of volunteers in 2016 to a thriving organization today, serving over 500 local teens and young adults, while employing 15 full and part-time employees!   

Yet, even with this growth, there are still tremendous needs within the youth community, especially when it comes to youth mental health.  

I read an article in the Portland Press Herald recently about the societal changes needed to the end the school shooting violence that too often grips our nation. “We should build communities where kids feel noticed and supported, and where others can see when someone is in trouble.”  It gave me hope, because that’s exactly what we are doing at MYC. Connection and belonging begin here.  

One local high school student, who comes almost every day, often tells us that MYC is the only place she truly feels safe. She knows there is always a warm meal to eat, a friend to talk with, and the safety and security of a staff trained in youth mental health first aid.   

Just before the holiday break, she wrote “I am thankful for the people who have led me to where I am today,” and she placed it in front of me with a nod. As I swallowed the lump quickly forming in my throat, I gave her a big hug and told her, again, just how much she matters.  

As we look ahead to 2023, we know that there’s still a lot of work to do. Yet we have hope that the connection and belonging fostered at MYC, will have ripple effects far beyond what we will ever know or see.   

Happy Holidays,