RAWK Spotlight: Ynika Yuag


For the month of November, we are shining the RAWK Spotlight on

Ynika Yuag

The RAWK Spotlight is a monthly series that celebrates folx who embody and serve the mission of empowering youth voices. Folx in the RAWK Spotlight can be anyone from staff, to volunteers, to Board Members, to community partners. They are chosen by the RAWK staff team by merit of their passion, dedication, and enthusiasm for serving local youth and their community!

Keep reading to hear what Ynika has to say about being in the RAWK Spotlight, and hear from our community members and RAWK staff team about their work at RAWK!

“Thank you to my colleagues on the RAWK staff team for selecting me for this Spotlight–I have a hard time accepting praise and I’m grateful that you all hold me (and each other) accountable to practicing genuine love and recognition.

This job feels extra special to me as someone who once was a young reader and writer growing up in Kalamazoo. I’ve lived here my whole life, been with RAWK a bit over a year now, and every day I’m amazed at the discoveries I’m still making about the young people around me, the community of folks who once were my mentors but are now my colleagues, and about myself, as a (slightly less young) reader and writer in Kalamazoo.

I’ve always admired that RAWK doesn’t claim to bring anything brand new to the table–we amplify what is already here. The most important takeaway from my time here is the realization that we are constantly surrounded by life-changing stories, most especially from our young people who guide us every day in this collective humanity thing we’re all trying to navigate. They have the answers. I am beyond proud to serve with a team who understands this, and does everything in our power to make those stories heard.”

–Ynika

Hear what our community members have to say about Ynika:

“Ynika routinely brings important and weighty perspectives that provoke deeper thought and drive accountability to the things we hold as important. I love this about them.”

Monica Lloyd (Board Member, CHRO Centrica Care Navigators)

“Ynika is simply an amazing person, colleague, and advocate for youth voices. They work hard to ensure that young people have the support they need and bring so much joy and passion to any program they are a part of at RAWK. I have learned so much from working alongside Ynika, and they deserve to be celebrated for all that they do for RAWK and for the community. <3”

JaMeelah (Program Coordinator)

“I feel extremely fortunate to work alongside Ynika. As both a coworker and human, I appreciate and admire their initiative, attention to details, tenacity, strong moral compass, and desire to shape change for a better world. I greatly value their sense of humor and the joy they inject into our work. Above all else I feel honored that they allow me to learn from them and alongside them. Thank you, Ynika, for everything you do for RAWK and for the rest of our community. “

Victoria

“Ynika is a true RAWKstar! Ynika is both committed & passionate about the work they do and is always willing to support the RAWK team. Ynika brings so much enthusiasm to the team, and RAWK is better because of them.”

Kandace Lavender

“I’ve known Ynika since this summer during volunteer training and volunteering at King Westwood Elementary. Ynika was passionate when she spoke about the youth during the training. When it was time for the volunteers to enter the class room she was supporting us through the process.”

Amy Hall (Program Coordinator)

“Ynika is one of the hardest working and most dedicated humans I know. She is a wonderful fit for RAWK and its mission. Ynika has many talents and abilities, and they are all brought to the forefront in her position. We are fortunate to have her!”

Marissa Harrington (Board Chair)

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