Latin American Youth Center

The mission of the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) is to empower a diverse population of underserved youth to achieve a successful transition to adulthood, through multi-cultural, comprehensive, and innovative programs that address youth's social, academic, and career needs.
May 27, 2016

Meet Carmen, our Outstanding Peer Educator!

Carmen, with her award!
Carmen, with her award!

Dear Friend,

As you know, our Teen Health Promotors program is filled with amazing youth who are amazing peer educators. One such youth, Carmen, just won the DC Department of Health's award for "Outstanding Peer Educator of the Year." See below for her nomination letter, written by staff member Lily Gage.

 "It is with great pleasure that I nominate Carmen for the DC Department of Health/HAHSTA Outstanding Peer Educator of the Year. Carmen is a member of LAYC’s Teen Health Promoters (THP) Program, and her contributions to this program are unparalleled. As part of this program, Carmen completed our Sexual Wellness Advocacy by Teens 11-hour curriculum. Through this program, she has learned not only facts about sexual health, but also how to be an outstanding peer health advocate and educator. 

Weekly, the THP students fill out process logs, documentation recording conversations with peers, friends, and family about the health topics we discuss in class. I am continually impressed with the discussions Carmen records and shares. Not only does Carmen go above and beyond with the quantity of discussions she has with others, but the depth of her conversations far exceeds what I would expect from a high schooler. She has discussed, with friends and family, everything from sexually-transmitted infections to what it means to be transgender. 

During the THP application process, all the students are required to denote whether they would rather do a clinical or peer educator internship. Of all 15 students, Carmen was the only student who indicated that she wanted to pursue the peer educator internship. For this internship, Carmen has spent the last two months meeting with the Teen Health Promoters Coordinator to work on her facilitation skills and become more comfortable with our Sexual Wellness Advocacy by Teens curriculum. Last week, she successfully facilitated a workshop on reproductive anatomy at Anacostia High School. 

Carmen exemplifies all of the qualities of a good peer educator. She is knowledgeable, understanding, nonjudgmental, communicative, and well-spoken. She is comfortable discussing difficult topics and does so factually, with respect and tact. Carmen is responsible, engaged, asks questions related to whatever health topics we are learning, and is always willing to volunteer and speak up. 

Finally, Carmen went above and beyond her role in THP when she filmed and edited the Teen Health Promoter’s video submission for the 'Check Your Risk' video contest.  I have no doubt that Carmen will go on to do great things as a peer educator and health advocate."

 Thank you so much for your support of amazing youth like Carmen. Please consider donating monthly to support this program, and to create more outstanding peer educators!

 

Gracias,

Lori

Carmen (back left) with the other THP students.
Carmen (back left) with the other THP students.

Links:

Mar 30, 2016

Washington Post profiled our program!

Kory, outside the Drop-In Center.
Kory, outside the Drop-In Center.

Dear Friend,

Thank you for supporting LAYC’s Street Outreach Program (SOP). SOP staff outreach in the DC community to find homeless or unstably-housed youth and connect them with services. Case managers work one-on-one with youth to determine their individual needs and create a plan for the future. This month, the program was recognized for our outstanding work through a profile in the Washington Post.

Kory, pictured above, was highlighted in the Washington Post piece, linked here. The article describes her emigration from Honduras, fleeing gang violence. She came to the US to live with her sister, but soon found herself sleeping on friends’ couches. Kory’s situation is not unique for unstably-housed youth. They are scared of adult shelters, embarrassed to admit they are homeless, and worried about paperwork requirements they may need to seek help.

SOP’s Drop-In Center is a safe space for these youth. They can just come to hang out, eat a meal, do laundry, take a shower, and get connected with services. The article highlights how this casual style of programming is essential for vulnerable youth like Kory. “This was a place where you could come and talk and get help,” said Kory in the article.

Through LAYC’s services, Kory was connected to case management, safe housing, and employment. She now works part-time at SOP’s Drop-in Center, where she received services. Please see the linked article for more photos and details about Kory and SOP.

A donation of $25 can provide a three nutritious meals for a young person like Kory. Your support means the world to vulnerable youth who have nowhere else to turn.

 

Gracias,

Lori Kaplan
President & CEO

Links:

Mar 1, 2016

Meet Kenia

Kenia, at the first THP meeting.
Kenia, at the first THP meeting.

Kenia joined LAYC’s Teen Health Promotors (THP) program to pursue her dreams of a career in medicine. A bright student and motivated person, Kenia was excited to learn how to perform vital signs and to become CPR certified. She shared with THP staff that she wanted to learn how to take basic vital signs because she hopes to teach her peers how to take control of their own health. She commented, “Some people are not aware of their health issues until they go see a doctor. Learning how to provide vital signs at home will help individuals keep track of their health.”

Kenia became CPR certified through the Teen Health Promotors, and is now ready for her spring internship at a local medical clinic.

Kenia and the other THP youth ran a recent THP event, “Don’t Catch the Love Bug”, an annual event that teaches their peers about healthy relationships, sexually transmitted diseases, and overall health and wellbeing. All of the activities, from the workshops, to yoga, to vital signs checking, were planned and facilitated by THP youth. Over 60 youth were in attendance. Kenia was able to demonstrate some of the vital signs skills she has learned to her peers, fulfilling her wish!

Kenia is now one step closer to accomplishing her goals. Thank you for your contribution to the Teen Health Promotors. A donation of $100 provides CPR and First Aid training to a youth like Kenia. 

 

Gracias,

Lori Kaplan

Kenia and her peers learning CPR.
Kenia and her peers learning CPR.
Learning CPR steps.
Learning CPR steps.
All the THP youth, fully certified!
All the THP youth, fully certified!
 
   

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