Student advocates prepare at The L.A. Trust Academy

Student advocates, shown here at The L.A. Trust’s Y2Y Conference in Marchdiscussed how to conduct peer campaignin the new school year on August 4-7.  


Two dozen Student Advisory Board members from five Los Angeles high schools met with staff members of The L.A. Trust for its first-ever Summer Academy learning session August 4-7, 2020. 

The students learned how to conduct peer-to-peer health campaigns, discussed ways to encourage visits to L.A. Unified Wellness Centers, and gained greater knowledge of healthcare disparities. The four-day pilot event was attended by SAB members from  Crenshaw, Jordan, Locke and Washington Prep, as well as students from John Marshall High School.  

The online Academy was facilitated by four staff members from The L.A. Trust: Robert Renteria, program manager; Eddie Hu, program manager; Mackenzie Scott, student engagement program coordinator; and Dannielle Griffin, student engagement program assistant.  

Organizational facilitators from L.A. Unified Student Health and Human Services helping to inform and guide the students included Gloria E. Velasquez, Victor Luna, Rene Bell-Harbour and Maggie Yu-DiPasquale. 


Renteria said he was impressed by the students’ commitment to the 20-hour learning program. Scott said the students were knowledgeable (“they could have presented my learning modules”) and engaged (“the chat was blowing up like crazy.”) 

Students discussed mental health, sexual and reproductive health, substance use prevention, public health, and their own career development. Wellness Center staff logged on to brief the students on updated hours and services and how to refer peers to the clinics. 

Students took a break from their learning to share their insights with The L.A. Trust Board of Directors at their annual retreat, August 6. Maryjane Puffer and Board members thanked the students for their frank accounts of how the pandemic is affecting them and their communities. 

The L.A. Trust’s Student Advisory Boards have met since August 18, the first week of L.A. Unified’s 2020-2021 school year. Renteria said, “Thanks to the Summer Academy, we have students ready to conduct campaigns about student and community health and to help increase awareness and use of the primary, mental and oral healthcare services offered by L.A. Unified’s student and family Wellness Centers.” 


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