Last month we had the pleasure of speaking at the Advocates for Youth roundtable in Washington, DC for its Youth of Color Initiative (funded through the CDC’s Division of Adolescent School Health). The participants were grantees who receive seed grants and capacity building services.We asked Urooj Arshad, Program Manager for the Youth of Color Initiative at Advocates for Youth, to tell us more about the roundtable and how their grantees are using new media to reach youth of color. Here is what she had to say:
This roundtable provided an opportunity for the grantees to share lessons learned as well as strategies for developing and implementing culturally appropriate HIV prevention interventions for young African American/Black and Latina/Hispanic women. Some of the skills-based sessions included: mobilizing youth of color using new media strategies; organizational development; science-based programs; and working with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth.
Organizations funded through the Youth of Color Initiative occupy a wide spectrum of geographic, infrastructural and programmatic diversity.
- Focus On Flagler Youth Coalition, Inc. in Bunnell, FL focuses on preventing tobacco, alcohol and other drug use among youth while building a community-wide coalition of stakeholders.
- Taller Salud based in Loiza, Puerto Rico is a community-based feminist organization working in the field of women’s health since 1979, focusing its efforts on educational and prevention programs directed at women and girls.
- Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies (IWES) in New Orleans was founded in response to health disparities among women of color. IWES is dedicated to improving the physical, mental, and spiritual health and quality of life for women of color and their families, especially those who are socio-economically disadvantaged.
- THE POINT Community Development Corporation in Bronx, NY is dedicated to youth development and the cultural and economic revitalization of the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx and offers a multi-faceted approach to asset-based community development.
- The Uplift School Health Center (USHC) in Chicago, IL addresses the HIV/STI and pregnancy prevention needs of youth living in the diverse community of Uptown in Chicago.
Utilizing new media strategies is a priority for all of the above-mentioned organizations. However, their expertise ranges from actively using social networking sites as part of their programming to only recently procuring an organizational website. For example, IWES launched the Social Marketing Technology Outreach Program (STOP) in 2009, with a goal of reaching a minimum of 3,000 African American/Black and Latino/Hispanic youth in the Greater New Orleans area, through a multimedia social marketing campaign that promotes HIV risk reduction. All aspects of the youth-focused social marketing campaign (the development of materials, messages, and images, etc.) are developed by a cadre of youth who receive specialized training in social marketing using advanced technologies.
THE POINT Community Development Corporation, utilizes new media as an arts and advocacy tool to engage multiple stakeholders in ongoing social and environmental campaigns. The newly updated website includes links to an organizational blog, Facebook, a YouTube channel, and student produced media/art galleries. They are also building on these strategies by integrating podcasts into the website.
These are a few examples of how grantee organizations are using new media strategies to effectively reach out to and implement programs for youth of color to help reduce disparities and marginalization. Advocates for Youth is providing tailored and intensive capacity building services to these organizations as they integrate new media and amplify their programmatic impact.
Looking for more information on youth and new media use? Check out The Pew Internet and American Life Project’s new report, "Social Media and Young Adults" and the Kaiser Family Foundation’s survey "Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds".