The Importance of Working to Mobilize Latino Youth

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In this webinar, Salud Hero Kymberly Lacrosse who works with Latino youth to help bring healthy changes to their community shared her personal story as well as experiences working with Jóvenes SANOS.

If you missed the webinar be sure to see check it out here.

Every child, teen, or young adult, needs someone they can count on to guide them in the right direction.

For many, mentorship and opportunities for leadership can go a long way, even changing one’s life course trajectory.

Despite the great importance of these opportunities many Latino youth lack mentorship and report a feeling of “disconnectedness.”

Nearly 15% of Latino youth are reported to be disconnected from opportunities, leading to less education, unemployment, and increased rates of childhood poverty, according to news reported by Salud America!

Why Work to Mobilize Latino Youth?

Latino youth mobilization is becoming especially important in the wake of what many are calling “the new Latino diaspora.”

The diaspora refers to the phenomena that Latinos are now moving to and residing in parts of the country, not traditionally inhabited by large Latino populations.

Julissa Ventura, a PhD candidate who studies Latino/a youth groups at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently concluded that out-of-school groups can provide an important space for students who may not feel accepted in the traditional school setting.

“For some students, a supportive peer network and a sense of belonging in the classroom are critical elements for their academic engagement,” Ventura explained.

The same students who skipped school attended Latin@Youth meetings regularly, and volunteered to participate in smaller comité meetings.

According to Ventura, those who were “seen as truant and disengaged students at school, were consistently present and willing to participate in youth group discussions and projects, and perhaps more importantly, they started to develop a positive self-identity as leaders.”

Community spaces should strive to not only be sites of social service, but also ones of social change.

Julissa Ventura
PhD Candidate, University of Wisconsin-Madison

New Salud America! Resource Aimed at Mobilizing Latino Youth

The bottom line is that leadership opportunities through youth mobilization can lead to healthy youth development among Latino teens.

In a March 2018 webinar, Salud America! highlighted the following as benefits of youth mobilization:

  • Training in advocacy, conflict resolution, building self esteem, confidence, and social & intellectual capabilities;
  • Introduction to public policy issues & opportunities for service;
  • Peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities + exposure to role models in various contexts

Resources to Mobilize Youth for Healthy Change!

For more information visit Salud America!’s resource page on mobilizing youth.

By The Numbers By The Numbers

60

Percent

of Latinos earn less than $15/hour (vs. 39% of full-time workers overall).

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