Youth Initiative Update

By Charles Shazor, Associate Program Manager

NMAC’s Youth Initiative is in high gear as our Youth Scholars prepare to implement their World AIDS Day projects. We are excited to announce that NMAC has recently approved each Youth Scholar’s application for a mini grant of $500 to assist them with their World AIDS Day project budgets. This mini grant award is a key investment to NMAC’s Youth Scholars as a “thank you” for their hard work and commitment to providing education and awareness in regard to the various stigmas surrounding people of color living with HIV in America.

The Youth Scholars have been paired with a Youth Initiative Council member to serve as a mentor through the on-site training, planning, and implementation of their World AIDS Day projects. The Youth Initiative Council is composed of five (5) seasoned Youth Scholars from previous years of Youth Initiative programming who have shown exceptional leadership and advocacy in their respected HIV communities. We strongly believe that this method of mentorship not only assists our new Youth Scholars to effectively complete their World AIDS Day projects, but also continues to build the skills and leadership of our Youth Initiative Council as an additional investment in their futures.

With a little over a month remaining before World AIDS Day (December 1), NMAC’s Youth Scholars and Youth Initiative Council are working tirelessly to bring their World AIDS Day projects to life. Together, NMAC’s Youth Scholars and Youth Initiative Council will present key concerns and challenges in creating a shared vision to identify meaningful solutions in the HIV epidemic.

Youth Initiative 2019 USCA Experience

The Youth Initiative Youth Scholars had the opportunity to participate in a three day in-person training to prepare them for their World AIDS Day community projects. The in-person training was conducted through closed sessions during the 2019 USCA in Washington, DC. During this time the Youth Initiative Scholars were given key tools and learned the skills needed through mentorship, informational sessions, peer to peer education, and intergenerational leadership to partner with local HIV organizations. The Youth Scholars will use the skills that they learned during the 2019 USCA to design an HIV-related project for World AIDS Day (December 1). With the assistance of NMAC staff and the Youth Initiative Council, the implementation of their projects will be based on the Youth Scholars’ interests in HIV care and/or prevention that has the greatest impact in their hometown and social media networks.

YI Scholar Quotes from 2019 USCA

What Did You Like about USCA?

“Meeting the other Youth Scholars and being able to experience seeing a powerful protest. It was definitely an eye opener connecting with the others and being able to feel the comfort of being comfortable in your own skin.”

“What I like most about USCA, is that everyone around me is open and it’s comfortable about being who they are and what they went through and took me in like family. I loved how much I have learned. USCA gave me a stronger voice.”

“I loved the bonding and interactions that were made. NMAC afforded us a great opportunity of exposure to so much and I left with great connections and future partnerships.”

“The opportunity to get to meet so many inspiring young leaders from around the country and getting the chance to become inspired in so many ways.”

“I really was able to enjoy hearing and being able to take in other people’s stories. Being able to hear people like me made me feel like I wasn’t alone anymore. Like other people understood me and I definitely needed that.”