More than 100 student health advocates and their adult allies learned from each other March 2, 2020, at The Los Angeles Trust for Children’s Health annual Youth to Youth Conference, held at the California Endowment in downtown L.A.
Members of The L.A. Trust’s Student Advisory Boards from the Belmont, Carson, Crenshaw, Elizabeth Learning Center, Fremont, Gage, Jefferson, Jordan, Locke, MaCES, Manual Arts and Washington Prep campuses attended. The next Y2Y Conference will be held in November.
“Y2Y is for students, by students,” said Robert Renteria, The L.A. Trust’s program manager who helped facilitate the gathering. “Students think of questions and answers adults don’t think of,” he said. “They also have great credibility with their peers. We saw in our workshops that these young people have tremendous insights on student health.”
The Summit included an impassioned keynote by former Hollywood High Student Advisory Board member Wendy Siguenza, who talked about the real-life challenges facing many LAUSD students, from immigration to social injustice. LAUSD Student Health and Human Services psychologist Dr. Kimani Norrington-Sands addressed the hidden trauma some students have suffered and outlined services, counseling and referrals available through the District’s Wellness Center network.
The L.A. Trust’s partner F*ck Cancer hosted an information booth and an online petition to the California State Assembly to expand access to the life-saving human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine.
In the morning, students from Locke presented a one-hour workshop on how to promote HPV vaccinations; Crenshaw students gave a breakout session on STDs and birth control; and Carson students outlined how to relieve stress and improve the mental health of teenagers. In the afternoon, students from Jordan High gave a workshop on how to run a student health campaign on campus.
Students also participated in workshops on:
- Wellness & Adolescent Substance Use Prevention project (WASUP)
- Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE), focused on vaping cessation
- The L.A. Trust’s Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) outreach
- A presentation on LAUSD water quality by the District’s Chief Facilities Executive Mark Hovatter
A separate track provided information for the Student Advisory Boards’ Adult Allies.
The conference an exercise that asked students to consider the most important parts of their identities, including ethnicity, sexual orientation and personal passions, a social media challenge, a photo booth and a TikTok-inspired “Renegade” dance competition.
“The Y2Y event is always an ‘all hands on deck’ event for The L.A. Trust, and our entire staff was proud to support our student advocates once again,” said Maryjane Puffer, executive director. “The enthusiasm of the young people is not just inspiring, it’s essential to the success of our programs and outreach,” she said. “It’s why we build student engagement into everything we do at The L.A. Trust.”