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Youth M.O.V.E. seeks youth input

January 16, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- More adults than young people showed up Friday for a meeting called by Youth M.O.V.E. in Washington County, underscoring the dilemma of how to connect with the youth facing mental health issues that the group was formed to help.

"We want to know what the youth in Washington County want," said Brooke Kerbs of the Washington County Mental Health Authority, which is overseeing Youth M.O.V.E.

While Kerbs and other agency representatives talked about projects, meetings and T-shirts at the county office building at 33 W. Washington St., some of the young people suggested that more of the target audience - ages 16 to 24 - might be reached through a MySpace Web site.

"Kids could log on to that Web site ... it's easier to talk about things there," said one youth who asked to remain anonymous.

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He said he could set up such a site, talk about growing up on the streets of Baltimore and invite others to tell their stories.

Excited by that prospect, Kerbs said such a site could be linked with the Web site for M.O.V.E. at www.Myspace.com/youthmovemd.

Motivating Others through Voices of Experience (M.O.V.E.) has chapters in 13 counties in Maryland. Kerbs said a grant of $11,000 has been assigned to Washington County to help spread the word about opportunities for young people to effect positive changes in their lives.

Chad Whitmore and Laura Bastille are the youth leaders of M.O.V.E., and Kathleen Phillips of the Washington County Family Network is the adult adviser.

Young people who have experienced special education in school, mental health services or been in foster care are part of the target audience.

Other suggestions made Friday included a teen-to-teen crisis hot line, coordinating efforts through student government associations in county schools, and seminars on how teens can connect with and help other teens who have problems.

For more information on Youth M.O.V.E. Washington County, visit the Web site or contact Kerbs at 301-739-2490, ext. 12.

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