julio 9, 2018
Department of Children, Youth and Families awards MNHC $200,000 grant to expand Teen Services in the Excelsior District
Early this year, MNHC was awarded a $200,000 five-year grant from the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and their Families to support the growth of its Teen Services program.
The program had its start in 1996 with the support of a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to create a peer-model program then named Latinos en Extasis to expand MNHC’s impact on the HIV epidemic in the Latino community and reach Latino teens in their early adulthood. It was designed to help the teens get straight talk and education about sex, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases from young people their own age. It was an innovative program focused on increasing self-esteem, knowledge, negotiation skills, and understanding of risk factors – building blocks for a healthy future. Inherent in the curriculum was the understanding that since youth often get more information from their peers than from their parents in adolescence, it made sense to train youth leaders with the facts so that they could educate and correct misinformation among their peers.
Over two decades later the program has evolved. Under the supervision of Christina Gonzalez, Youth Services Supervisor, the program has now grown to address key issues around health disparity among races and ethnicities in the community and place a greater focus on building leadership among youth. To reflect the broader focus, the program was renamed to Adelante Youth Leaders Advancing Health Equity.
Along with advancing the curriculum, staff has wanted to expand the reach of the program. The funds from the grant will be used to expand services to MNHC’s Excelsior site and fund a new staff position dedicated to that community.
“It’s exciting to see how the program has evolved over time,” said Christina. “Our youth leaders today will learn how to make their voices heard, how they can impact public policy, influence health equity and better understand how schools and families can affect and support disadvantaged communities.”
The support from this new grant allows the program to broaden its reach and train a new cohort of peer leaders who can make a lasting impact on their community.
“We feel it’s critical for the youth today to understand how they can make a difference, not unlike the movement recently witnessed in the many teen marches across the nation,” added Christina. “I’m proud to be able to help create the change makers of tomorrow.”
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