YI Rocky Mountain is a leader in creating economic opportunity for young adults by amplifying their voices in the political process. We pass state policies and initiatives, and train diverse cohorts of young adults to effectively advocate for their community’s needs, focusing primarily on health care, higher education, basic needs, civic engagement and the workforce.
Since its founding in 2016, YI Rocky Mountain has run a leadership development program for young adults furthest from power and privilege, provided advocacy training to hundreds of young adults, led on and passed numerous state policies, developed and implemented the Hunger Free and Healthy Minds college campus checklists, conducted a mini case study of our campus-based advocacy work on destigmatizing mental health care in Colorado and on college campuses, launched a digital pilot to provide young adults in rural communities with information on preventive health care, and led a #HealthyAdulting campaign to increase health insurance literacy and use of preventive services among young adults in the state, through in-person workshops and digital engagement. We’ve produced policy and research products on achieving gender equity in Colorado apprenticeships, a policy roadmap for supporting student parents, research and recommendations on women in the workforce, and recommendations for increasing young adult use of preventive health care services.
We’re training and paying ($15/hour) the next generation of leaders ages 18 to 34 who have low income and have had less power or privilege, specifically people of color and low-income young adults, in advocating for policy change to improve their lives and communities. YI’s policy priorities are informed and driven by young adults we work with through our leadership programs [e.g., Young Advocates Program (YAP) and Youth Advisory Board (YAB)], our research projects, and our broader young adult network. YI advocates for policy changes that achieve health equity and economic security.
Since YI’s Colorado office opened, we have:
- Provided over 500 hours of in-depth advocacy training to more than 100 young adults through YI’s paid YAP and the Denver Youth Leadership Academy;
- Reached 1,000+ young Coloradans in person and an additional 160,000+ online with important consumer information on health care and higher education;
- Connected youth leaders with over 100 state and local lawmakers working on YI’s core issues;
- Placed 20+ media stories written by or featuring the accounts of YI’s youth leaders on economic security issues facing young Coloradans;
- Developed and implemented the Healthy Minds and Hunger Free Checklists for college campuses;
- Led on over 20 pieces of state legislation that have become law; and
- Provided guidance and oversight for institutions of higher education, the state legislature, the Department of Higher Education, and the governor’s office on CARES Act spending.
Our team had some huge wins during the 2021 legislative session and we’re looking forward to another successful session in 2022.
We’ve also created resource guides for young adults navigating the pandemic. You can find the Colorado resources here and federal resources here.
If you’re interested in partnering or joining our work in Colorado or the Rocky Mountain Region, we’d love to hear from you!
Kyra deGruy Kennedy, Rocky Mountain Regional Director
200 Union Boulevard 200 Union
Suite 200 – #D200-001
Lakewood, CO 80228