Increasing Peer Support and Youth Involvement Statewide and Spreading Hope Along the Way

Desiree Moore

Desiree Moore is being honored as a Champion of Change for embodying the next generation of leadership within the disability community and her commitment to the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I’m honored to be a White House Champion of Change.

My name is Desiree Moore, and I grew up in Long Island, New York.  My motivation to get involved in my community stemmed from a need to find something positive in the challenges of life.

I entered the foster care system in 2007, and I was facing so many changes at that time.  I really felt myself wanting to give up. Being introduced to advocacy and learning to advocate for myself, gave me hope and inspired me to help others. Oftentimes when we go through different challenges we lose hope.  Through sharing my story and overcoming personal adversity, my goal is to spread hope and help others to do the same.

The year 2010 was a great year for me.I was awarded Outstanding Youth Advocate of the year, and several months after I was offered the Long Island Regional Partner position with YOUTH POWER!YOUTH POWER! is a New York statewide network for young people who have disabilities and cross systems experience.

Through my role as a Regional Youth Partner, I have partnered with a Children’s Psychiatric Hospital to create a youth advisory council where the young people are afforded an opportunity to express areas of appreciation and areas that needed improvements. When youth have input in all services they receive it ensures that their needs are being met and that administration knows how their programs are being delivered. I also had an opportunity to work with a residential treatment facility for adolescent girls with mental health challenges to create a place for them to receive support just from their peers. I have also worked with this group to help them sustain their peer support group. YOUTH POWER! participates in New York State’s deinstitutionalization efforts but we feel it’s important for youth to have a voice and hope wherever they are.

In addition, my team and I created a presentation called “Spreading Hope Through Sharing Our Stories” to empower young people and let them know there is hope.We focus on raising disability awareness, breaking down stigma and speaking the truth about what it is like to be in the system.This presentation has inspired many young people to not give up and showed them they are not alone.

When I’m not working directly with other young people I serve on government and community committees to bring youth voice to the table.  I’m currently in college majoring in event management. I aspire to become an event planner, and plan to donate a percentage of my profits to develop a program to acknowledge and celebrate birthdays for children in foster care. There have been many young people whose birthdays have been forgotten in foster care.   I want to change that. 

Thank you for recognizing my work, and for giving me an opportunity to share my heart with you. To me, being a Champion Change means that despite life’s challenges, aim high, be the best you can possibly be, and help others along the way.

Desiree is a leader working at YOUTH POWER!.

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