Greetings NN4Y Members,
Hello from Seattle! This is Melinda Giovengo, PhD. – the CEO of YouthCare. Two weeks ago, I had the deep honor of being elected as the incoming Chairperson of the National Network for Youth’s Board of Directors. As you know, NN4Y is your community of leaders, and your voice to the nation, on youth and young adult homelessness.
While I anticipated this nomination, when it actually arrived… I was moved to tears. Nearly 35 years ago, I started my journey in the field, as an Outreach Case Manager at YouthCare. It was 1986, and at the time, NN4Y was a community I could turn to for learning and support from peers and colleagues who were also passionately committed to the potential of young people. The most influential mentors and coaches of my life all went on to serve as the Chairperson of the Network – bringing their knowledge, vision and grit to national leadership. Debby Shore of Sasha Bruce, Bob Meacham of Lighthouse, Jane Harper of Family Resources, and Victoria Wager of YouthCare – all proverbial giants in our professional community, and each leaving a legacy for young people in their home organizations, as well as across the country through their respective leadership terms with NN4Y.
So much positive policy and programming has come to be for young people as a result of NN4Y’s work and leadership – the accomplishments of all the years are too many to count. But, these positive changes are what happens when passionate innovators come together for a common mission.
As Chairperson of NN4Y’s Board of Directors, I promise to represent each of you, your incredible teams – and, most importantly – the young people we are fortunate to serve, through my tenure as Board Chair. I look forward to a term that focuses on partnership, courage and seeking lasting change for young people. I look ahead with excitement to collaborate with Darla Bardine as our Executive Director, the full NN4Y team and our partners- members, Youth Advisors and national advocates.
These are unique, challenging and urgent times in our nation – we must work to ensure that the needs of young people, and their potential, are not lost in this chaos and uncertainty. I’d be remiss to claim that I know how it will all unfold, but I know with certainty that this is the time for a powerful, unified and expertise-saturated message to federal policymakers. We need your voice, your knowledge and your membership so that together, we can continue to fight for our young people.
I ask you to stay engaged with NN4Y – stay hopeful – and join or renew your NN4Y membership. Let’s end youth homelessness in our county – it is a goal within our reach! As my term gets started please know that I welcome your questions and ideas. You can email me at Melinda.Giovengo@youthcare.org.
Thank you again for the great honor of leading our National Network, together.
Chair, National Network for Youth
CEO, YouthCare in Seattle, WA