Train 16 Minority Youth in Health Careers in DC

by Latin American Youth Center
Vetted
THP student Vanessa at her DC HAPP internship.
THP student Vanessa at her DC HAPP internship.

Dear Friend,

LAYC’s Teen Health Promoters (THP) program affords our amazing youth some incredible internship experiences. See below for a letter from THP participant Vanessa, on THP and her internships:

"THP has been a very fun and motivational experience for me during the course of the 2015 - 2016 school year. In this program, I was able to learn new things that I didn’t know before on different health topics such as STI, HIV, abstinence, sex abuse, vital signs, fitness, and nutrition. I also got a chance to practice performing CPR. In addition, I was surrounded by my peers who were like my brothers and sisters to me because they taught me a lot and they wanted to pursue a career in the health field just like me. THP not only gave me knowledge and motivation, but it also gave me an opportunity to work as an intern at George Washington University Hospital as well as join a summer program called DC Health and Academic Prep Program (DC HAPP).

During my internship at George Washington University Hospital, I was able to meet with health professionals that worked in different units in the hospital. These health professionals gave me tours of their units where they taught me about what goes on in the units, the medical equipment or rooms that they use, and how their daily routines work. I was also given an opportunity to talk to their patients as well as practice using basic medical equipment. This was a very interesting experience.

DC HAPP has been a very inspirational and enjoyable experience for me during the summer course. Various health professionals came to give a lecture on the health career that they work in, including a nurse, anesthesiologist, physical therapist, and pediatrician. These lectures gave me the determination that I needed to figure out what health career I wanted to pursue in the future. Furthermore, in DC HAPP, I was given the opportunity to get a real-life hands-on experience with different health skills, such as performing CPR again, intubation, suturing, and vital signs. I was also able to see and feel real body organs such as the heart and lungs. It was all a very exciting and fun. But above all of this, I got the chance to wear a White Coat which was an amazing thing because it made me feel like I was a real doctor (which I’m actually not). I would never ever forget the good times that I had in these programs because I have learned so much in such a short amount of time and done great things that others my age had never done before and I am so thankful and grateful to those who made THP possible for me and my peers to join this program. May God bless you all!!!"

Thanks so much for your support of Teen Health Promoters and youth like Vanessa. Our new crop of students will begin their THP journey in the next month! Please consider donating to support these youth. Just $45 outfits a young person like Vanessa with her own set of scrubs.

 

Gracias,

Lori

Students learning suturing.
Students learning suturing.
Vanessa and friend at their DC-HAPP internship.
Vanessa and friend at their DC-HAPP internship.
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:

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!
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.
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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Organization Information

Latin American Youth Center

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.layc-dc.org
Project Leader:
Colleen Muse
Washington, DC United States
$3,534 raised of $4,500 goal
 
 
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