They have undertaken this work to “learn more about how individuals and agencies can redefine community and highlight the issues that young people face.”
Rossi Clark has a vision to improve access to community support for LGBTQ+ youth and other underrepresented communities. Raised in the Appalachian mountains of Eastern Kentucky, they overcame struggles to define their sexual and gender identity by building a chosen family and finding support in a local community center highlighting the work of young folk musicians. These early experiences led them to a passion for community advocacy and social justice, oriented especially toward young people and their efforts to explore their identities.
Since then, Rossi has enthusiastically supported community efforts to build networks of care for young people. They have worked with agencies such as the local youth community support organization Ozone House. In their words, they have undertaken this work to “learn more about how individuals and agencies can redefine community and highlight the issues that young people face.” Their experiences with such organizations have given them the opportunity to see how community support can radically alter the lives of young people.
Currently, Rossi is earning a master’s degree in social work with concentrations in the welfare of children and families and interpersonal practice. During this time, they have also acted as a community engagement coordinator with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC) at the University of Michigan. At SAPAC, they have facilitated trainings for local establishments to increase awareness of sexual and interpersonal violence prevention strategies in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti communities.
In the future, Rossi hopes to continue building care networks for underrepresented young people. They aim to fill gaps in services, especially in rural areas where these services are generally inaccessible, and they envision a world where all young people have access to comprehensive care.
CEW+ celebrates Rossi’s dedication to their community and names them a Beatrice Kahn Scholar.