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MC3 2024

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What is the MC3 Community Listening Sessions Feedback?

Each year the MC3 Planning Team begins preparing for MC3 by listening deeply to community members - what they need, what’s been challenging, and what they’re excited about. These listening sessions shape every aspect of MC3's development and execution. This year, we chose the theme "power and possibility" to encompass the ideas we heard in our community. The feedback compiled here is a reflection of that community input.

Who did we hear from?

This year we heard from more than 70 individuals, representing over 30 organizations and groups, through one-on-one conversations, group feedback sessions, online surveys, and any other way people wanted to speak with us. We heard back from youth, child care providers, youth workers, non-profit workers, parents, juvenile justice staff, teachers and school staff, mental health & healthcare providers, advocates, preventionists, local government officials, librarians, family resource & service organizations, food access organizations, birth services, LGBTQ-centered organizations, out of school programs, museums, school administrators and more! 



Youth Leadership & Advocacy

From teaching self-advocacy skills, to building collective youth power, relinquishing adult-only decisionmaking models, and using asset-based approaches, individuals and organizations were working towards and grappling with how to increase youth leadership.

Working Conditions for Youth Workers

High licensure and training requirements, worker shortages, and struggles with low wages were all on youth workers’ minds. Individuals recognized that not only did these conditions impact youth workers, but that the stress and burden of those expectations are then often passed along to youth and families. 


We heard from community members that collaboration with partners both near & far helped them feel empowered and supported in their work. More felt possible when individuals and organizations collaborated with others who shared their values, and creative workarounds or unofficial collaborations sometimes opened unexpected doors for supporting youth & families. 


Divestment from DEI work, lack of funding for providing basic needs, struggles to find flexible or consistent funding, and a lack of funding for staff support & accessibility were all challenges for youth-supporting organizations.

Leadership & Power Dynamics

Youth workers & staff across youth-supporting organizations have seen it all: supportive and inclusive leadership, leadership that’s disconnected from staff, transparent decisionmaking, leadership that fosters distrust in the workplace, and more. The dynamic and structure of leadership & decisionmaking was often the make-or-break for staff and youth’s experience with an organization.

Navigating Public Policy

Monroe County youth & adults all flagged navigating public policy that impacts their daily lives as both a challenge, and an opportunity for action. Legislation impacting LGBTQ youth, the upcoming election cycle, and paid leave legislation were all on folks’ minds.

Supporting Parents & Caregivers

Many flagged the lack of support for whole families, and the need for both tangible goods and resources for caregivers, as well as support in building parents’ skills. We heard that navigating healthcare, school systems, community expectations, transportation, and holding youth accountable all remain challenges for Monroe County parents.

Sustainable Expectations

One youth worker we spoke with described the trade-off of “loving the work, but know that it’s unsustainable”. We heard this feedback echoed by others, both for themselves, and the youth they work with. High expectations, a sense of urgency, and unpredictability all impacted both youth & youth workers, and individuals were seeking ways to set more reasonable expectations.


Many we spoke with described a need for de-escalation skills and accountability that doesn’t rely on shame, blame, or punishment. Not only were individuals seeking ways to hold youth and coworkers in mutual accountability, they were also looking for healthier models of organizational accountability.

Addressing Systems of Oppression

Despite Monroe County’s shared work to build belonging, equity, and inclusion, youth & youth workers recognized that Monroe County still has work to do addressing racism, sexism, poverty, and other systems of oppression.

Weathering Inconsistency

We heard that youth & adults alike were struggling to manage inconsistency surrounding them - be it staff turnover, inconsistency in program delivery, navigating truancy, or uncertainty about school system & organizational changes.

Supporting Youth Across Experiences & Identities

Youth workers across the county recognized the need for individualized, culturally responsive, equitable care for all youth, including youth with anxiety, LGBTQ+ youth, neurodiverse youth, youth of color, disabled youth, youth experiencing mental health struggles, youth with refugee or immigration experiences, and more.

Meeting Basic Needs First

Across listening sessions, individuals and organizations all flagged that while basic needs like healthcare, housing, transportation, wages, food access, language access and safe employment aren’t met - youth, families, and youth workers can’t thrive. Organizations struggled with how to meet the needs of youth and families beyond what their program was designed to offer, and with how to engage in collective work to address larger community conditions when burnout is already a struggle.

Virtual Resources & Online Safety

Youth and adults both recognized that social media, online platforms, and other virtual spaces could be supportive and important resources for families and youth. At the same time, digital safety continued to be a stressor, especially amidst differing generational expectations or understanding of virtual spaces.

Third Spaces For Youth & Families

Teens across the county noted a lack of open spaces where they felt welcome, and parents struggled to find spaces that were family-centered or family-friendly, rather than simply tolerant of young children.

Systems of Care

Working to navigate the long lasting social, emotional, and educational impacts of COVID on youth remains a struggle. While individuals suggested that teens are feeling less stigma around sharing their mental health struggles, that still didn’t shift a lack of access to mental health providers, or mean that youth were equipped for peer-to-peer support. Struggles with county-to-county inconsistency and navigating parental consent also posed barriers to youth accessing care and support.

Small Is Supportive

It was clear that youth and youth workers alike were finding support in their individual relationships with friends, providers, colleagues, navigators, and in smaller, supportive affinity groups like LGBTQ-centered spaces, parent support groups, and community of color centered spaces. Where larger structures, institutions, or collaborations sometimes opened up broader opportunities, deeper and more personal connections offered a stronger sense of support.


Strengthening intergenerational communication, interorganizational community, and communication across language or access barriers were all a priority for youth-supporting individuals & organizations. Without the right tools to communicate, individuals were struggling to share decisionmaking power and work together.

Intergenerational Support

Teens supporting younger children, grandparents supporting teens, youth supporting adults - many flagged that robust systems of intergenerational support were crucial for building safety & stability for Monroe County families. At the same time, differing expectations or communications styles sometimes made intergenerational connection a stressor or challenge.

615 S. Adams St

Bloomington, Indiana

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