Jun 12, 2023

Building a Stronger Future: Celebrating the Impact of Eye to Eyes Young Adult Guiding Coalition

Emily Monforte, Near Peer Mentoring Committee Chair and YAGC Member

As we wrap up the final weeks of the first cohort of Eye to Eye’s Young Adult Guiding Coalition(YAGC), it has allowed us to reflect on the initiative and the opportunities it has brought to the organization and the young adults stewarding the coalition alongside us. 

For those unaware, YAGC is a 10-month opportunity for young people aged 16-25 who identify as neurodivergent. YAGC members are primarily responsible for providing insight and input into Eye to Eye programs and services, co-creating opportunities for our Eye to Eye community, and serving as ambassadors for the movement to combat stigma and engage in anti-ableist practices as we work towards a world that celebrates neurodiversity. 

Throughout the year, Eye to Eye’s Young Adult Guiding Coalition (YAGC) has demonstrated their commitment to creating meaningful change and advancing the organization’s mission. With a team of 13 active members, the YAGC has completed seven community connections, forging valuable partnerships and expanding the reach of Eye to Eye’s programs. Their participation in various speaking engagements and events has allowed them to raise awareness, share their stories, and advocate for inclusive education. Additionally, the YAGC has actively engaged in 27 committee working meetings, contributing innovative strategies to address the challenges faced by neurodiverse youth. Their involvement in strategic dives and exploration of new initiatives through a listening tour showcases their forward-thinking mindset and dedication to shaping Eye to Eye’s future.

The YAGC’s remarkable accomplishments and tireless dedication have made a significant impact on Eye to Eye and the broader neurodiverse community. Through their community connections, speaking engagements, and committee meetings, they have strengthened partnerships, sparked dialogue, and developed innovative strategies. Their collaborative efforts in strategic planning and exploration of new initiatives demonstrate their commitment to inclusive decision-making and ensuring all voices are heard.

Anna Higgins, Philanthropic Development Committee and YAGC Member

YAGC members work virtually as an advisory group in addition to 4 committees that work directly with specific internal teams here at Eye to Eye. Each committee has a YAGC Committee Chair that works directly with an Eye to Eye Staff Liaison as a collaborator.

The coalition’s impactful projects included developing Eye to Eye Alumn’Eye sessions and supporting Alumn’Eye programming at the Eye to Eye gathering. They provided valuable input on engaging young adults in fundraising and played a key role in planning Give Day and the 25th Anniversary Gala Celebration. The coalition also created a guide for sharing personal stories and advised on the Strike-Out Stigma campaign. Their efforts extended to designing a community-focused art project and enhancing art room activities for the upcoming program year.

The coalition’s dedication and collaboration have driven Eye to Eye’s mission forward, enhancing programs and fostering inclusivity.

Jaimie List, Professional Learning Committee and YAGC Member

Here are some reflections from Eye to Eye staff:

Simmi Goomer, Chief Learning and Impact Officer
Alicia Siegel, Director of Development, Philanthropic Development Committee Staff Liaison
Carly Priest, Mentoring Program Manager, Near Pear Mentoring

To learn more about the guiding coalition click here

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