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Video: Tricia Gurley

Innovative Collaborations to Improve Youth Outcomes: A Federal, State, and Local Dialogue

Tricialouise Gurley, Youth MOVE National Founding Board Member, passed away August 3, 2012 in her home in Montreal, Canada. This is a tremendous loss to the youth movement, as Tricia had a huge impact on youth empowerment, advocacy, and cross-system change on a national level.


I have often referred to myself as a product of the system. At a very young age, I started receiving services – in second grade, I started receiving therapy.

When you talk about high risk, at risk youth, youth that probably aren't going to make it, I would – I was that young person.

It saddens me to say that it took me almost losing my life – well, taking my life – to receive the services that I needed. I finally got a social worker that listened and that really heard me and didn't take my father's word over mine and put me, advocated for me to be taken away permanently and I became ward of the state. I'm from New York, and I went to a residential, and I know there's a lot of controversy over residentials, and my residential saved my life and for the first time in my life I got to be a kid.

I graduated in 1999 and we often talk about transition, transition's always a huge piece of conversation, and I didn't have transition when I left my placement, which was the biggest downfall, that and the lack of education. I went into college and at the time I had severe social anxiety disorder.

I was withdrawn in 2001, and found myself shortly after becoming homeless at the age of 20. And there's nothing more traumatizing, well, there are things more traumatizing but for me at this point to have gone so far and to fall back so far, it was really detrimental for me and I wound up in a homeless shelter where I was the youngest person by 18 years, and everyone else there was addicted to some hardcore drugs. In that time, I got linked with an amazing therapist, and through that an intensive case manager who linked me with this youth group, and she's like "Oh, you know – it's not horrible, if you don't like it just call my cell and I'll pick you up." And I'm like "Ehhh…" I go and for the first time in a very long time I met other young people that had been through similar situations as me, and even if they hadn't been through the exact same situation, we shared common feelings of lost loneliness, feeling like you don't belong. And I found home, so to speak, again and through that I started advocating for young people and then I started doing it more on a community basis and then more on a state level, and then one day I got a call from a Marlene Matarese, who ironically is now my supervisor, and asked me if I was interested in doing, if I was interested in advocating for youth on a national level, and I said yes, and hence, Youth Move National was born.

Professionals have a certain level of expertise, but the youth and the families that live through these times have an – I have 27 years of experience. And I use it to further all of our cause.

'Cause often we have the adults saying well we, we want this but we can't find the youth and our youth just aren't interested. It's if you ask them they'll speak and they'll come up with some sweet ideas and they do provide a very refreshing and invigorating look to things that are currently going on.

Video: Marlon Norman

Innovative Collaborations to Improve Youth Outcomes: A Federal, State, and Local Dialogue


My name is Marlon Norman, I'm a graduate from ARCH training center, and that's where I received my GED and my NCCER, which is National Center for Construction, Education, and Research. And I left out of school at the beginning of the 11th grade year, and it was about two years before I decided to study at ARCH. I worked for a temporary agency in the meantime; I was a leasing consultant.

I liked it a lot, but since it was a temporary job and I didn't have my GED, they couldn't hire me. They wanted to, but I couldn't get the job because I didn't have my GED. So I enrolled at ARCH, first I earned my GED, which took about 10 months. Next I enrolled into the skills class to learn competency trade, which is the NCCER.

I've been enrolled in an afterschool photography class offered at the ARCH training center for well over a year now.

I was really excited to assist the instructor with installing shows, helping with students, assisting in the dark room, and learning as much as I could about photography. The difference with this photo class is that it let me be more creative, it's more entertaining, and I find it a lot easier to stay involved since it is such a hands on experience.

I've put in many hours at the Honfleur Floor Gallery, which is a project of ARCH Development Corporation. I have been in three student shows and I will be curating and showing in the next student show for DC photo week in November. This show is entitled Eco-Action Reaction; it's an environmentally based show in which I was able to work with and instruct with the help of my photography instructor, new and aspiring photography students in the art of visual storytelling with a camera. All of these accomplishments have led to an internship position with ARCH Development Corporation, which then led to a full-time position as an assistant lab technician of Vivid Solutions, DC.

I had made some major personal accomplishments in the last two years. Two of the student shows made it to local newspapers here in Washington, DC. Those two student shows were probably the best experiences I have ever encountered. I have even had my work displayed in a group show in Paris, and the annual Easterly River exhibit at the Harm Floor Gallery. I have been able to sell some of my framed photographs through these exhibitions. I have also been able to meet some inspiring world class photographers throughout this time. I met photographers from France, California, New York, and they all came to our student shows and commented and some even bought some of our work, so that was really, really nice. They also took me under their wing and one of the artists offered to give me her camera after meeting me at an exhibition and hearing my story. This was my first professional digital camera, which I had been saving money to buy, and it would allow me to develop my skill in photography. The fact that your work is displayed, people actually come to view, comment and acknowledge your work is truly an experience I won't forget.

Video: Chardae Anderson

Innovative Collaborations to Improve Youth Outcomes: A Federal, State, and Local Dialogue


As she told you, my name is Chardae Anderson, and for the past four years I've been mentored through the Building Dreams mentoring program at Clemson University. The Building Dreams program is a mentoring program of children incarcerated. My caring and devoted mentor is Carol Stewart. She's been my mentor for four years now and I remember when we first me, I remember thinking to myself, "Hmm, is this really going to work? We seem like two different people." She was talking about hiking up a mountain, running miles, and I'm just like "Uhh, a movie here or there? You know, can we do a movie?" But she really opened my eyes and let me see what was beyond my reach. And I started looking at her just at first just being a mentor but she soon changed my view on that and I now see her as one of my best friends and a second mom to me.

So the relationship that we have is just, you know – although she's an adult, she's old – you know, stuff like that. But she's older than me but she doesn't look down on me just because I'm younger than she is. She looks at me as an equal. And although she is a parent and she's been through that and everything like that, she's my mentor and she lends out a helping hand, and she's like one of my best friends. I probably tell her more things that I tell my mom, my sister, my brother, anybody that I can think of she's probably like the first person I run to because she's, you know, she's been there, she's learned, she's made mistakes, and she's, you know, been able to talk to me and tell me what am I doing wrong. And, ok – I was young, I've been through you know, a lot of things, I've been in trouble with school and stuff like that, and I can honestly say that when I was younger I did have an attitude. Yeah, I had an attitude, I'm not even going to deny that, but Miss Carol showed me that, you know, I don't have to have an attitude. I have a beautiful smile and I can light up any room, and I just have to run with that. And I've struggled in life. Yes, I am a child of an incarcerated parent and statistics say that children with incarcerated parents face many difficulties. They're vulnerable to fear, anxiety, depression, anger, and stuff like that, and the behavior consequences can be severe, and they even say that children of incarcerated parents are six to ten times more likely to end up in prison than a normal teen. Well, I made up my mind a long time ago that I will not be another statistic. I will not follow anyone else's footsteps, I will not follow my father's steps, I will make my own decisions, make my own goals, and run with it.

Right now, I'm a sophomore at Clemson University, I'm studying to be a CPA, setting my own goals and I'm glad to say that on this journey, I could have my mentor right beside me.