Dec 8, 2015

Update on Jordy and a new crop of THP students!

Jordy during THP.
Jordy during THP.

Jordy, a senior in high school, reflects on his experience in the Teen Health Promoters (THP) program:

“THP is by far the best experience that I have ever had. It not only helped me learn new clinical skills, but also taught me how to apply them in a health related environment. I was given the chance to volunteer at a clinic which I would have never seen myself doing until I got to medical school. We were also able to create projects that had the purpose of promoting a healthy lifestyle in our community. Through these projects, I was able to work with a great team composed of teenagers and my program coordinator. I was very shy at the beginning of the program, but soon I was able to learn how to communicate with others in a better way. Now I am more confident in myself and have definitely strengthened my passion for a health career.” 

THP was able to launch Jordy to new heights. Not only did he participate in the DC Health and Academic Prep Program, outlined in the last report, but he is now part of the White House Leadership and Mentoring Initiative. We are so proud of Jordy and his journey, as well as the new crop of THP youth! Currently, there are 14 high-school-age youth who have begun this year’s THP program. Stay tuned for news on their educational journey as they explore health careers. Thank you for your contribution! Every donation expands the opportunities that these driven youth can access.

 

Gracias,

Lori Kaplan
President & CEO

Jordy presenting at George Washington University.
Jordy presenting at George Washington University.
Jordy in his lab coat during an internship.
Jordy in his lab coat during an internship.
Oct 7, 2015

Meet Hunter

Hunter at LAYC.
Hunter at LAYC.

"LAYC saved my life. They gave me a helping hand. I was completely alone," shares Hunter, age 21. Hunter came to LAYC through the Street Outreach Program, went on to complete job training at LAYC, and is now a student in LAYC's Bard College where she is working toward six college credits in the humanities. To meet Hunter is do a double-take of sorts. She sounds not unlike a graduate student defending a thesis as she speaks about her life, the current political climate, or issues of social justice. Her enthusiasm for learning is palpable.

One year ago, Hunter came to a crossroads. Her mother had fallen ill after years of drug use and related health problems, and she was staying with her estranged father and his new family. She became depressed, and soon after, homeless.

Today, Hunter is hopeful for the future and focused on continuing her college education.

"I've learned that it's okay to take a different road than the one I had expected to be on. I read somewhere that there is no authentic self. I used to question if I'd be the same person had I had a different upbringing. Now, I've learned that the challenges I've experienced, while painful at the time, have made me who I am. I'm learning to be happy and satisfied with life and more grounded," affirmed Hunter.

LAYC’s Street Outreach Program (SOP) staff outreach in the DC community to find homeless or unstably-housed youth and connect them with services, just like Hunter. Youth receive case management and counseling, access to housing and education, sexual health education services, and workforce development training. Case managers work one-on-one with youth to determine their individual needs and create a plan for the future.

A donation $10 can provide a winter survival kit for a youth like Hunter. Your support means the world to youth who are trying to get on their feet.  

Gracias,

Sep 4, 2015

Bontu and Jordy impressed GW doctors!

Bontu and Jordy.
Bontu and Jordy.

Remember Bontu? Three months ago, you received an email outlining her experience with the Teen Health Promotors (THP). Missed that report? You can read about her at this link. Bontu and her friend Jordy, both seniors in high school, sat down with LAYC staff to discuss THP and their summer experience working with the DC Health and Academic Prep Program (DC-HAPP) at George Washington University (GW).

DC-HAPP was an intensive four-week experiential opportunity for rising seniors interested in a career in medicine. Jordy, Bontu, and the other THP students joined other DC youth to work directly with medical professionals to learn about various health career paths, participate in college preparatory activities, receive support with the college application process, and build mentoring relationships for long-term academic and professional success. Throughout the program, the youth had an opportunity to hear lectures from medical professionals and students, visited the Veterans Affairs office and spoke to veterans there, had lunch with the deans of GW’s medical school, and even had a special white-coat ceremony to honor the youth and their work.

Jordy really enjoyed the lectures on projects various doctors were working on, including research on various illnesses and diseases. He remarked, “I liked learning about iron deficiency or anemia because that affects various members of my family. It was cool to learn about it from the medical side.”

Bontu loved the experience of going into GW’s cadaver lab and seeing various dissected cadavers. She mentioned that all of the youth were able to practice medical sutures on pigs’ feet. These two experiences changed her original goal of becoming an anesthesiologist to wanting to become a surgeon.

Both Bontu and Jordy spoke about how their experience with the Teen Health Promoters prepared them for this program. Jordy appreciated the clinical skills they learned in THP like taking blood pressure, CPR training, and knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Jordy mentioned that doctors were so impressed with their knowledge from THP, stating “medical students don’t even know that!” Bontu was assigned to GW’s hospital for her internship with THP, so she felt comfortable in the space and felt ahead of other youth in the program. Bontu said that she credits THP for giving her the confidence to talk to various types of people, and that the program helped them bond with staff.

After the program, Bontu, Jordy, and the other youth participants received a $2,500 stipend as well as continued college application assistance. Both students said they wouldn’t have been eligible for this amazing experience without their training from THP.

As for their families? “My mom never stopped talking about it. Everyone in my family is proud of me and sees me as the future doctor,” Jordy said. Bontu said that her parents are doing the same thing—bragging to everyone. “Now my sister wants to do THP, too!” she said.

Because of you, Bontu and Jordy are closer than ever to achieving their dreams of becoming physicians. Thank you! Every contribution expands the opportunities that these driven youth may access, including hands-on experiences like DC-HAPP, internships, and scholarships. Please consider donating monthly to sustain the Teen Health Promoters program. 

Gracias,

Bontu speaking to the DC-HAPP graduation.
Bontu speaking to the DC-HAPP graduation.
Bontu, Jordy, LAYC staff, and other THP youth.
Bontu, Jordy, LAYC staff, and other THP youth.
Bontu, her sister, and LAYC staff Andrea Thomas.
Bontu, her sister, and LAYC staff Andrea Thomas.
 
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