A Day in the Life: Associate Director of Youth and Young Adult Engagement Matin Yusuf
Spend a day with Associate Director of Youth and Young Adult Engagement Matin Yusuf and see how he introduces youth to our programming and makes sure they feel comfortable and at home at Bridge.
I start my day by checking on youth who have spent the night at Bridge in the Welcome Center on our second floor. I stop in as the youth are eating breakfast and ask them about their plans for the day, making sure they are staying on track with their goals. While there, I meet one youth who is new to Bridge, so I introduce myself and ask them to come up after breakfast to meet with me.
I meet with the new youth and we talk about their background, needs, and goals. Because they are interested getting their GED/HiSET, I refer them to our Education & Career program and we walk up together to the fifth floor to introduce them to some of our team members. Because everything at Bridge is in the same building, it is easy to guide youth to different programs.
Another youth new to Bridge comes in for intake. I give them a tour of the building and all of our services and they make it clear they are in need of housing. Because they have community support and a job in Brockton, I help them understand and look for housing options in the Brockton area. At Bridge, we know how important it is for youth to maintain community ties and support.
At noon, I meet with a youth that I had been speaking to yesterday. While this youth insists that they only want housing, I noticed on their intake form that they have been receiving services from the Department of Mental Health (DMH), so I make a point to check in with them about these resources. It becomes clear to me that they have issues with anxiety, depression, and possibly PTSD. These are all normal, and even expected, for youth experiencing homelessness. I explain that we have people at Bridge that can help them navigate through their challenges. The youth is still hesitant, but agrees to think about seeing one of our therapists.
The above youth has given me authorization to talk to their DMH case manager, so I get in touch with her to learn about the services the youth is eligible to receive. I write these down so I can share them later with the youth. At Bridge, we work hard to collaborate with other organizations serving youth, and working with a DMH case manager can be a way to move along a mental health treatment process that’s already started for a youth.
I have an appointment with a few youth to help them fill out housing applications, including the CHAMPS app and the Commonwealth Land Trust application. Housing is an important part of the puzzle for many youth, so it helps to have someone who knows the landscape to guide them through the process.
While walking back to my office next to our 4th floor Drop-In area, I come across a heated conversation. Two youth are having an argument over a potentially stolen phone, so I step in and help them resolve it. After helping them look, it turns out the phone was just stuck behind a chair. These kinds of disagreements are understandable among youth who are under a lot of stress, as frustrations can be high. Working at Bridge, a lot of my job is helping youth resolve conflicts and solve problems on the spot.
I work with youth who are interested in participating in MY-BEST, a Bridge-designed brief intervention to help youth who are involved in substance use and have shown some readiness to reduce their use. They come in and talk about treatment, how to stay positive, and how to get access to outside support programs. Participation in the sessions earns youth gift cards. Today, I work with a youth at the beginning of the process, who is telling me how they are working to stop using cannabis. We talk about treatment plans and alternatives to substance use.
I pack up my things for the day and head home. As I leave, I remind a youth about an appointment we have scheduled for tomorrow morning at 10 am.