AHSHAY Receives Philanthropic Support to Pursue a Novel, Community Designed Approach to Preventing Youth Homelessness and Incarceration
AHSHAY (Allies in Healthier Systems for Health and Abundance in Youth), a center led by Dr. Benjamin Danielson, announced today that it has received a significant philanthropic commitment from the Raikes Foundation and an anonymous donor to support the new Fortifying Futures for our Youth project. This project will be a co-created upstream and cross-sectional approach fostering hope and working upstream to prevent homelessness and incarceration in youth. Cultivated ideas will be implemented and evaluated, all in close alignment with the driving voices of youth and community.
Speaking about the significance of the investment, Dr. Danielson stated,
“While many restorative services exist for youth experiencing trauma, too often they are only offered after youth have experienced adverse life events such as becoming involved in the carceral system or experiencing homelessness. By drawing upon the deep wisdom of our youth and people who have been directly and indirectly harmed by our society’s systems, we aim to co-create ideas that are upstream, abundance-based, and focus on the north star of preventing youth homelessness and youth incarceration.”
Throughout the project, members of the community coalition will have access to the latest findings in brain development science, public health-based knowledge, and our knowledge of mental health needs. This is reflective of both Dr. Danielson’s history as a physician and AHSHAY’s connection to the University of Washington School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Other values guiding the project include an emphasis on abundance, a belief in youth brilliance, and a focus on cultivating joy. Over the course of several months, community members will convene to co-create ideas for change and practical approaches to implementation that are emblematic of these ideals.
Dr. Danielson continued,
“This important funding is an acknowledgement that the communities most impacted by youth incarceration and homelessness have the best solutions and are the best places to apply those solutions. A community’s most precious resource is its youth and the potential that young people hold to become lifelong community-enriching members. We are proud to partner with forward-looking supporters that are committed to making our communities stronger by centering the needs, experiences, and knowledge of our youth.”
Project participants will include youth and families with first-hand experience of homelessness and incarceration, community-based organizations, funders, policymakers, and other key members. The group will focus on identifying actions that promote community sustainability, anti-racism, and relationship-building. Partners already involved in the effort include the Tubman Center for Health and Freedom, which provides fiscal sponsorship for AHSHAY, and UW’s CoLab for Community & Behavioral Health Policy.
To learn more about this project, follow AHSHAY on LinkedIn for updates.
Allies in Healthier Systems for Health and Abundance in Youth (AHSHAY) works to unbuild systems that imprison youth and build ones that honor their brilliance. AHSHAY knows that an abundant future rests on unbuilding harm and building hope. We want to end youth incarceration and build healthier systems in Washington State and beyond. Our goal is to promote paths to opportunity that support youth and the communities they live in to thrive.