Youth Ambassadors began in 2010 as an innovative collaboration of community partners in the Kansas City metropolitan area who joined forces to implement a state-of-the art, non-profit employment program for underserved youth.
Youth Ambassadors is an educational employment program designed to empower underserved teenage youth with important life skills, soft job skills, creative expression, and adult mentors, helping them become future community leaders willing and able to work for positive change.
Sarah Pilgram began working with Youth Ambassadors during the fall of 2016. The UMKC School of Social Work has consistently placed MSW Students at their site for practicum placements. UMKC professors were asked to initially train their teaching staff on trauma informed engagement with students. Following this, Sarah became more engaged and served as a health teacher to 50 + youth during the summer of 2018. During the summer of 2019 she served as a site coordinator for one of their three sites at Rockhurst University. Following the summer of 2019 she began working with Teesha Miller (YA Executive Director, Joey Lightner (UMKC Public Health), and Amanda Grimes (UMKC School of Nursing) to develop the Youth Ambassadors Health Academy. We are submitting grants and developing programming that will hopefully lead to a "health profession pipeline" for the Youth Ambassadors that are interested in this field. This summer (2020) due to COVID we are serving the youth in a virtual format. Sarah has been working to develop and provide content focusing on health issues to the Youth Ambassadors in a virtual format while conducting small group Zoom meetings with a small number of Ambassadors. This is a strong community collaboration that we hope continues to grow and develop.