Dustin Young + OurOwn.Life
by Jeremy Green·
Today on Creators + GoodThin.gs, I catch up with the Carson homie Dustin Young, Founder of OurOwn and Co-Founder of Keep it Run100 on how he empowers his community to live their best life.
For those that are unfamiliar with you, tell us about yourself.
I am a Mentor, Physical and Mental Health Advocate, and the Founder of Our Own. After graduating with a degree in Psychology and Sociology, I went on to work for various nonprofit organizations that focused on behavioral prevention with inner city youth. My firsthand experience has given me deep knowledge and understanding of issues in providing optimal health that help individuals achieve greatness. Such awareness equips me to offer unprecedented and exceedingly outstanding care to our youth and young adults. Having a strong connection with the community and the traumas our youth face daily, I decided to dedicate my time on creating solutions that would help communities grow and utilized non-traditional engagement strategies to assist with reducing stigma related to mental health treatment. To further educate myself and being a better support, I became a certified doula to reduce the Black maternal mortality rate. I feel that my phenomenal energy, friendly and approachable personality, as well as affection for people is what makes me unique and truly for the people.
What GoodThin.gs do you Create?
The goal is to "Make Purpose Popular." I've created Our Own (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization) to build and strengthen communities through consistent, life-changing experiences. We create the access needed to resources for mental, physical, and emotional health to support the underserved. We will feel these tools empower people to reimagine themselves and impact their community. The initiatives we create such as Be Right Back, Keep It Run Hundred, Seed & Soil and SELF provides the access needed in underrepresented communities throughout LA County.
You've been doing some pivotal and impactul work even before Covid, but considering the health, racial, social and political issues we're facing currently, in what ways do you feel that your purpose has intensified in these times?
Thank you for recognizing the impactful work my organization has done before and during Covid. The goal with Our Own is to ‘Make Purpose Popular’ and provide consistent programming to underserved communities. Focusing on the mental, physical and emotional health of our community members. I am a natural problem solver. I see the what needs to be fix and try to create solutions for them. I feel my purpose for sure intensified as the problems got bigger, resources became scarce and increase mental illnesses. Covid shut down our city, but it put a spotlight on all our programming/initiatives. As my business partner (Lee Johnson) says, “if you pivot before you have to pivot…you’ll always win.” Being prepared when everything hit, allowed us to be the thought leaders in spaces companies struggled. Putting us in position to really serve the people in an authentic way, but also expand our reach to those being looked over. With the uprising of social injustices, pandemic and the upcoming elections impacting our communities the most, we increased our efforts with Seed & Soil (providing fresh immune boosting foods, herbs and spices to families without transportation), Keep it Run Hundred (run club that created challenges and encouraged communities to run a few miles a day), SELF (our digital series providing sound healing, yoga, fitness and breathwork tools to strengthen our mental health), Own Our Vote (creating access to legislative education that is relatable to BIPOC communities) and Be Right Back (internship program providing opportunities for young Black youth in industries we are not often represented). We for sure been and will continue to be until we see the growth we seek.
You're uncovering ways to connect what so many would consider "luxuries", in the health and wellness space to these underserved communities. In a place like California, this work may go understated, but talk to me about representation within these spaces has meant for you.
There are a lot of factors that prevents us from having a fair opportunity in the wellness space as it is currently “so white.” The wealth gap within our communities is one of the factors that creates barriers to wellness. Think about LA and our “poor” communities. They are made up with Black and brown people. Then those communities are striped from resources, education is not great, access to activities are not present, single parents households etc. We face all of this and then when we see anything about health and wellness we do not see us, especially from these large brands we spend our money with. The barrier with representation and not being identify as thought leaders in the wellness space is real, but we are doing our part to change that. Going into our “tough” neighborhoods and schools to provide access has changed the conversation here in LA around wellness. There are so many organizations and initiatives that we either partner with or highlight to further the reach within our communities. Because of all these efforts, we are seeing an increase in the youth and adults taking their health more seriously. Seeing someone who looks like you and someone you can relate to makes it easier to increase the popularity in the wellness space. Also, we add our style and flavor to everything we do, which create those safe and comfortable spaces for people to continue showing up for themselves. I believe if continue to show up, highlight ourselves and pour back into our community in cool, fun and impactful ways, our communities will continue healing and growing.
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