On Thursday, January 11th, YLI Alum Maureen “Mo” de Nieva-Marsh was honored for her work at RxSafeMarin with the Excellence in Innovation Award at the 25th Annual Heart of Marin Awards Ceremony. “When I was a student at Dominican University of California I was leading a double life toggling between a personal substance use problem and what seemed like a life as a functioning college student,” she reported in a touching Facebook post. “It was by becoming a youth advocate turned staffer at Youth Leadership Institute that my life took a different turn. Youth development programs, mentors, femtors, adult allies, friends, family – this is what saved my life.”
Thirteen years later, as Senior Program Coordinator for RxSafe Marin at Marin Health and Human Services & Marin County Government, she is giving back to the community. “I think about what my life could have been if I made a different choice – I pour my heart and soul in the community changework we do, because I deeply know how it could change the life of one person greatly – I know because it changed mine.”
YLI Youth Board Member, Josh Rowe was also honored with a Youth Volunteer of the Year award for his leadership on Marin’s Social Host Ordinance — one of YLI’s most recent policy victories. Their names were highlighted in an article the Marin Independent Journal that covered the ceremony. YLI youth leader Ethan Strull was also nominated for Youth Volunteer of the Year, and two YLI youth served as youth judges: Ruby Clarke (former Youth Volunteer of the Year award winner) and Talia Green.
Mo concluded her post with a heartfelt call to action to support this invaluable work: “If you are reading this, please consider investing in the youth of our community, become a mentor, give spaces for youth & young adults to have a seat at the leadership table. Someone gave me that opportunity once and I have never looked back ever since. It is our community responsibility to pay it forward.”