Raine McAngus: A beacon of leadership and change in youth advocacy and healthcare access
October 4, 2023 — “Do not just be successful in your life, be significant in the lives of others,” Raine McAngus, a 20-year-old college student and a newly-elected member of the inaugural YMCA of the USA Youth Advisory Council, said.
The Youth Advisory Council is made up of 14 young people from throughout the country, ages 16 to 23. To maintain the Y's relevance at the local, state, national, and international levels, the council's purpose is to advise and support the Y-USA CEO, Executive Team, and National Board on emerging issues, opportunities, programs, priorities, and strategic decision-making.
Only 5.6% of YMCA boards nationwide have members under the age of 30. The Y must increase the presence of youth on its governing boards because it is a youth-serving organization. The Youth Advisory Council's goal is to change the perception of young people as passive users of services and programs and to see them as active participants.
“Primarily I serve on that board, really as this kind of liaison between ASU and the Valley of the Sun YMCA and students and Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association (NLASA) and the staff here and building that pipeline to how can we continue to amplify youth voices and put people on that board that are a) young b) embedded, and c) going to continue to strengthen the relationship between the two,” McAngus said.
Hailing from Honolulu, Hawaii, McAngus came to ASU to major in English and wanted to be an orthopedic doctor. On a call with his advisor, he expressed his ambition to start a nonprofit that would serve as a foundation for providing people with public health grants and to support people who can do programming.
“So I had a conversation with him, and he was like, ‘Well, I think you're in the wrong major. I think you're studying the wrong things,’ And he was, and I remember this, he said, ‘Let's make it happen, captain,’” McAngus said.
Following this conversation with his advisor, McAngus switched his major to a dual major in Nonprofit Leadership and Public Service, Public Policy (Health Policy). He has two certificates - Cross-Sector Collaboration and Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP).
“It was really a happy accident. Just so happened that I came to ASU where we have one of the top nonprofit programs in the nation, just so happened that I met the right people that just made me feel at home, and I wouldn't have traded it for a thing,” McAngus said.
McAngus, in addition to two majors and serving on the Youth Advisory Council, is the President of NLASA (Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association). His experience as the president has been “incredible experience, at times humbling”
“For the first time I am leading a group of people that don't need to be led, they need to be facilitated at the maximum. Incredibly driven, the officer team that we have, the team that I get to work on are incredibly kind individuals really driven to their own passions and their own missions. And just like a home that you can connect with kind of it is one of those things where you meet these people. And you're like, we immediately connect because we both have the same shared values,” McAngus said.
Leadership has been McAngus’s strong suit from the beginning. McAngus has always been driven towards leadership and leading teams. He has a track record that reflects this passion, having been a part of ROTC for four years, actively contributing to senior class leadership, and even serving as the president of the medical club during his high school years. Leading teams has always been a source of enjoyment and fulfillment for McAngus.
McAngus got involved with the YMCA after networking with Jenna Cooper, the Vice President of Government and Community Relations at the Valley of the Sun YMCA. After listening to her speak at one of his classes, McAngus struck up a conversation with her that led him to discover about the Youth Associate Director at the YMCA. Cooper sponsored him for the position following which, McAngus got elected as the Youth Associate Director at the Valley of the Sun YMCA in December of 2022, and later was the one who nominated McAngus for the Youth Advisory Council.
“With my schoolwork, they've (YMCA has) always been very heavy on ‘you are in school, make sure you were doing the things you need to do to be in school to get your education.’ So their support has been incredible, great connections, nothing but welcoming arms and nothing but welcoming arms from both the board and the YMCA executive staff. Incredibly helpful, incredibly open to network with me and to talk to me and to guide me kind of in the direction that I want to go in,” McAngus said.
McAngus had a profound interest in exploring the intersection between the nonprofit, private, and public sectors, recognizing how these domains often operated within their distinct silos. His curiosity lies in breaking down these barriers, particularly within the nonprofit sphere, which encompasses both social entrepreneurial organizations and traditional nonprofits, along with foundations and advocacy coalitions.
McAngus is captivated by the idea of dismantling these divisions and seeks ways to cultivate leadership, empower students, and educate youth about these intricate concepts. His ultimate goal is to equip young individuals to not only comprehend these dynamics but also to actively contribute to and advocate for causes aligned with their personal beliefs and values.
“And we (the Youth Council) had our first meeting and I recall getting off the Zoom call. And it was just like, oh my gosh, all of these people are incredibly impressive. All of these people are incredibly driven. All of these young people are making their own impacts in their own states. And for me, that was both empowering and humbling,” McAngus said.
On a personal level, McAngus finds immense appeal in the prospect of connecting with a group of individuals who share a deep commitment to their communities, realizing that some of them might even surpass his own aspirations in terms of community involvement. This desire to engage with such a community resonates strongly with him, offering the potential for personal growth and the opportunity to learn from those with an even stronger connection to their localities.
“This is an incredible opportunity for me moving forward, networking wise, an incredible opportunity to be a part of something like this. And again, to develop a program that is going to structure and possibly serve as the framework for YMCAs. Nationally, this program could be adopted by other YMCAs. And this program might be just really cool and really useful for nonprofit organizations, regardless of whether or not they are invested in youth frameworks or youth recreation,” McAngus said.
In McAngus's current plans and aspirations, the pursuit of an MHA (Master's in Health Administration) stands as a clear goal. He intends to embark on this academic journey by applying to graduate schools in the upcoming fall. McAngus envisions himself as a liaison and executive figure, focused on fostering connections, building relationships, and nurturing trust within communities.
He recognizes a substantial gap between health organizations, government bodies, healthcare institutions, and the trust of the communities he serves. This divide has been starkly apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to be an issue of concern.
In his future career, McAngus aimed to bridge these gaps, working to make healthcare accessible to people regardless of geographical location or language barriers. His goal is to dismantle the barriers that hinder access to quality healthcare. McAgus emphasizes the importance of ensuring that patients receive care from practitioners who not only understand their values but also stay current with medical practices. This, he believes, is vital for establishing trust, fostering proactive healthcare, and enabling individuals to live their healthiest lives.
“But I will tell you that what I do, and knowing what I do helps people, makes what I do easier. And it makes me more motivated to continue to do more, there is no amount of money that you could give me that would make the feeling of helping someone not worth it,” McAngus said.
Story by Riva Surana, ASU Lodestar Center.
Photo: 2023 NLASA members
Find out more about the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance and Certified Nonprofit Professional certification
The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance, formerly American Humanics, is a national alliance of colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations dedicated to educating, preparing and certifying professionals to strengthen and lead nonprofit organizations.
At ASU, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association (NLASA) engages with local, national and global nonprofit organizations. Through activities inside and outside the classroom, we help students build competencies leading to their earning the CNP credential. The CNP is the only nationally recognized credential that prepares students for leadership in the nonprofit sector. It can be earned alongside any undergraduate degree.