MIKE Program

Our Mission: MIKE Program empowers youth to be health leaders through education, mentorship and community outreach. Our Vision: MIKE Program envisions all people meeting their potential of vibrant good health, participating as citizens of a vibrant, strong society.
Nov 3, 2016

Mentoring Opens New Career Opportunities

Joe enjoys mentoring with MIKE.
Joe enjoys mentoring with MIKE.

Last week the usually boisterous classroom of ninth graders at De La Salle North Catholic High School grew unusually quiet. The teens were listening intently into stethoscopes to hear the blood pressure of their peers.

The activity was part of MIKE Program’s blood pressure clinic which brings in health professionals and college students into the classroom to guide the teens through the process of measuring blood pressure. The lesson helps reinforce the importance of maintaining healthy blood pressure levels while providing the hands-on experience. One team, mentored by Joe, was intent to get the most precise readings possible.

For Joe, the activity bridges his interest in a career in medicine with mentoring youth. He has been through this process before. Joe says he’s so impressed with MIKE’s impact in the classroom that he was eager to mentor for a third year.

“I enjoy the multicultural and diverse environment,” says Joe. “And I love learning through the perspectives of the youth.” The blood pressure clinic is a great example of how MIKE takes complex health issues and translates them into understandable terms for the youth.

Joe says working with young teens is an exciting challenge that affords him a distinct opportunity to expand his knowledge and skills as he prepares for a career as a medical doctor. “They have very different and distinct personalities,” says Joe. “They can come up with very different ideas and solutions to problems in unconventional and creative ways.”

Joe says he’s always learning something new from his participation in the program. “MIKE provides an opportunity of working with youth to bring awareness to current health issues while developing healthy lifestyles—both physically and mentally,” says Joe.

Having earned a master’s degree in applied biotechnology at Oregon State University, Joe discovered the appeal of working directly with youth has broadened his career focus. “I love working with MIKE to engage youth to promote their success in life and build awareness in health amidst a world where healthcare issues are rising.”

Joe is taking additional classes at Portland State University as he prepares for medical school. He says the supporters who contribute to MIKE provides him with the opportunity to mentor. “It’s a great relationship on so many levels.” 

Joe guides youth through measuring blood pressure.
Joe guides youth through measuring blood pressure.
Joe gets technical.
Joe gets technical.

Links:

Aug 8, 2016

MIKE Youth Promote Health in School

Cesar challenges youth to healthy snacks.
Cesar challenges youth to healthy snacks.

MIKE Program youth challenged a group of eighth-grade students to a test during the last days of school this year. The youth didn’t use paper or pencils for this test. The youth visited their local grocery store for testing materials to entice the students into a healthy snack taste test.

Cesar, one of the young men with MIKE’s afterschool program at Miller Education Center West in Hillsboro, Oregon, wanted to impress his classmates with his newly-gained skills in nutrition and cooking. He remembered watching his older peers share their healthy food ideas in years past. Now, he said it was his turn.

“Your life is only as good as your health,” said Cesar. “We need to start being healthy now.”

After months of actively participating in MIKE, the youth were determined to come up with healthy snack alternatives that their younger peers would actually prepare and eat.

Cesar and his team focused on how they could convince eighth graders that healthy snacks can be easy to make and delicious. Cesar knew that this project would involve more than posters to change minds, so he and his teammates arranged for a cooking demonstration. The youth invited their younger peers and several teachers to the presentation inside the school’s cafeteria.

Cesar and two of his classmates introduced their guests to chicken and vegetable roll-ups as a main snack or lunch item. Cesar and his teammates took turns explaining how each item contributed to a healthy diet, as they mixed the ingredients before their audience. They scooped the mix onto spinach wraps, rolled them up and served them to their eager peers.

For a second round, the team featured a fresh-fruit cup. Cesar said the combination of melons, mangoes, strawberries and lime are a traditional choice in his Latino community. He convinced his younger peers to try a cultural take with the snack by sprinkling some Pico Limon onto the fruit. The spicy seasoning added a lively flavor that intrigued the young taste-testers. By the time the eighth graders returned for more samples, the room was filled with conversations about the snacks and how to bring the ideas home.

The health leadership projects offer youth a means to connect with their communities. MIKE equips youth with the knowledge, skills and confidence to create youth-driven solutions aimed at improving health. MIKE’s health leadership projects provide youth with a community-service outreach experience for developing leadership skills and advancing health equity.

“At first MIKE seemed like just another program,” said Arlen. “But it became way more than that. It became a family-friendly environment where we not only learned and taught, but grew together as a whole.”

Of the 29 health leadership projects MIKE youth delivered this year, 35 percent were focused on healthy eating. It was the top theme of choice for the youth, who fanned out into their communities to share their ideas with more than 740 youth, families and community members.

Luis prepares for his cooking demonstration.
Luis prepares for his cooking demonstration.
MIKE youth present a healthy snacks presentation.
MIKE youth present a healthy snacks presentation.

Links:

May 10, 2016

MIKE Mentor Tackles Health for Youth

Joe Lopez (on right) guides youth toward health.
Joe Lopez (on right) guides youth toward health.

As an athlete, MIKE mentor Joe Lopez hopes to leave a strong impression with youth at De La Salle North Catholic High School. Lopez is inspiring youth to be more active by aligning his college football success to healthy behaviors.

“I have a unique understanding of the full spectrum of health,” says Lopez. “And healthy behaviors is something that gets overlooked too much in the typical high school education.”

Lopez says his main goal with mentoring for MIKE is to help guide youth away from unhealthy behaviors while they are still young. “I think health is as essential in our lives as sleep,” Lopez adds.

Lopez recently shared his enthusiasm with his five mentees during a “Stress, Sleep and Physical Activity” carousel lesson held outside the classroom. The activity helped highlight National Sports and Physical Fitness month in a way which teenagers could absorb directly.

He engages the youth in conversations about what attitudes and barriers hindered the youth, then coaches them through problem-solving methods to help them discover their own ways for improving behaviors.

When the youth turn to Lopez with questions about his own physical activity routine, he is happy to share how he combines his love of football with staying healthy. He embeds his team-ethic strategy to encourage participation for each of his mentees. Lopez says the method is an important way for including everyone in a shared goal.

One of MIKE’s goals is to empower youth to embrace and promote healthy behaviors. MIKE health science education program mentors youth with near-age mentors who serve as guides and role models for at least one academic semester. Each mentor commits at least two hours every week with the youth in their classrooms. Some of MIKE’s mentors volunteer for more than one session. Almost all of the mentors this year participate in sports and physical activities as one way for staying healthy.

Lopez gladly shows his mentees how his favorite sport keeps him healthy. Football has been a passion for Lopez since his high school days at Central Catholic in Portland. He quickly rose to statewide recognition with roles on both offensive and defensive lines three years in a row. He returned to Central Catholic last fall to coach the varsity and junior teams. It’s a way Lopez can combine his love of the game with mentoring youth.

Football was the lead attraction for Lopez in his first years at Oregon State University. While he focused academically in Exercise and Sports Science, he earned his way onto one of Oregon’s most popular college teams as a defensive tackle. Lopez played for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, then pivoted for Portland State University’s football team and a chance to study health sciences.

Lopez discovered he wanted to work directly with youth within the health sciences profession. “I always found joy in seeing the metaphorical light bulb click on above someone’s head,” he says.

Now Lopez sees that realization each Thursday as a MIKE mentor. “I hope I will be able to make an impact in the youth’s options for careers, too.”

Youth map stress in first step for solutions.
Youth map stress in first step for solutions.

Links:

 
   

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