ADVOCATES 4 CHANGE
We are the Western Pennsylvania (PA) CoC's Youth Action Board (YAB), Advocates for Change (A4C)!
We coordinate with the Western PA CoC to end homelessness, and cover a 20-county region that is largely rural. You can see our region by clicking on this link.
Our mission is to expand services for youth, creating and maintaining support systems that can meet youth where they are, reducing housing instability.
Advocates for Change and the Western PA CoC are committed to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment where all members and staff feel respected and valued regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, lived experience of homelessness, sexual orientation or identity, disability, education, or any other marginalized or oppressed identity category. We commit to recognizing, addressing, and reducing those systemic inequities that impact our work and leading with respect and inclusion.
WHAT DOES THE YAB OFFER?
Advocates for Change and the CoC believes that ending homelessness is only possible when the voices of people with lived experience are utilizing their expertise to change systems. We believe that ending homelessness is possible, that housing is essential to ending homelessness and homelessness should not define those who experience it.
1. All YAB members will be paid $16.73/hour for their expertise.
2. All YAB members will receive training on topics related to the CoC and receive staff support.
3. YAB members will have the opportunity, if desired, to work with staff on other personal and professional goals.
MEET THE BOARD.
This group to me is a way to have a voice where it matters. Homelessness has been an ongoing concern for a long time now, but as for someone who has gone through the system and has seen all the flaws and problems that are constantly overlooked, I can now speak up about them. We are Improving the system one step at a time, no matter how small the issue, in hopes of finding easier solutions to help any and all youth and young adults.
Alyssa Wisniewski is a survivor of homelessness and advocates for those with similar life experiences. Alyssa is a member of the executive committee on the Youth Action Board. She dedicates her time to helping youth and young adults navigate life after trauma. She is passionate in her activism for gender equality, lgbtq+ rights, and racial equity. She enjoys travel, Harry Styles, and plans to one day write a poetry book.
My name is Justin Guy and I am a member of the A4C board. I am currently living in the Scottdale area. While I have just moved into this community a little over 1 month ago I am still adjusting to it, but once adjusted I plan to help my community as much as possible. While on this board I hope to bring a lot to the table with my enthusiasm, hard work, dedication, commitment, and etc. We’re all on this planet for a reason why not help people along the way.
Idelia is a dedicated advocate who believes youth and young adults with lived expertise are central players in systemic change. Idelia is currently an Opportunity Youth Fellow, a Youth Policy Consultant, and serves on the HUD region 3 Authentic Engagement Technical Assistance Team.
She is also pursuing an MPA degree at the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on Policy Research & Analysis. Idelia enjoys reading, traveling, and listening to music.
I am on the COC Board as well as the A4C Youth Action Board because I am very passionate in this field and dedicate a lot of time to helping reduce youth homelessness. In addition to being a part of A4C, I work as a full time Facility Attendant at the Union Mission's homeless shelter. Here we offer a safe and welcoming environment for guests to find stable housing, find jobs, affordable healthcare, etc. I also help organize and run their fundraising events. My work here allows me to share my perspectives in hopes that others can get the resources they need.
I’m Hailey Murdick and I’ve been apart of YAB since February 2022. I am 19 years old and I currently attend Clarion university. My major in college is sociology and psychology. My goal is to make a difference in the world and to end youth homelessness.
Morgan Diesing has been an active member of Advocates for Change for three years. She is passionate about changing systems for youth who are experiencing homelessness/housing instability and/or struggling with mental health issues. This is evident through her work with the Crawford County Mental Health Awareness Program, where she creates therapeutic group activities for youth and young adults. Morgan loves reading and drawing in her spare time. Her goal is to provide services to those struggling with housing and mental illness.