I Am M.O.R.E. co-founders
Renee is the visionary for I Am M.O.R.E., a nationally award-winning nonprofit founded on the belief that EVERYONE can rise to their potential once they are inspired to see their own possibilities
I Am M.O.R.E. offers a counternarrative to the often deficit-based, traditional youth-development approach of adult saviorism, a form of oppression by adultism, which:
Undermines youth self-esteem and leadership;
Centers adults as the sole experts and heroes; and
Reduces intrinsic motivation in youth
The organization helps young people understand that they are MORE than the worst thing that has ever happened to them. Its transformational process is what helps youth and adults move through trauma toward our theory of change - "Empowered Resilience"™ - which leverages the power of personal storytelling, with critical inquiry and reflection, equity and culturally affirming, social and emotional skill building to teach young people how to deepen their learning and impact on themselves and their community.
I Am M.O.R.E.'s three step process is:
Inside -Out. Youth are taught how to be critical researchers of their own lives, through the historical lens of trauma. They learn how to reframe their life experiences and discover their unique sense of purpose so that they can begin to walk through the world not as victims, but as heroes of their own reimagined story.
Outside-Up. Building on youth participatory action research (YPAR) tools from Step One, youth will then research and analyze racial justice issues in their community and invest their wisdom into creating meaningful awareness of social justice issues.
Up & Beyond. Youth will use arts and creativity to share inspiring personal stories about what they have learned about hope, healing, belonging and social-justice oriented community building.
Renee is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Oregon and intends to create a national example of how to empower and build hope and resiliency in youth of color.
Pictured above are the I Am M.O.R.E. youth co-founders: (l to r) Justice English, Jeanette Mmunga, Johana Amani; and S. Renee Mitchell, an award-winning former journalist and youth empowerment advocate.
Here is what we believe
We are born to tell our stories. It is shame and the fear of not fitting that prevents us from sharing our deepest and authentic truths.
We all crave connection. But one can only discover connection when someone is listening and open to hearing with ears, eyes and heart.
We all have experienced some form of trauma. The questions are: How did you react and deal with it? How do you cope with challenges? What are the ways you intentionally address healing in order to recover from grief and trauma? Who is listening to you and encouraging you to move past unprocessed trauma toward resiliency?