LA VIDA Summer Program for Teens
The LA VIDA Program is a community-based participatory research program that works with Latina survivors of domestic violence and their children, and the southwest Detroit community. This program operates out of Community Health and Social Services Center, Inc., a community health center situated in southwest Detroit providing health care for the uninsured and underinsured. The LA VIDA program was designed through community input and offers short-term counseling and safety planning for victims of domestic violence, court advocacy and translation, Amigas support groups for women, counseling for children and teens who witness domestic violence, counseling for teen survivors of dating violence and sexual assault, and prevention programs that focus on the faith communities and children and youth. A Spanish speaking male batterer intervention is also offered. The LA VIDA Program is affiliated with the Urban Research Center (URC), housed at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. This program brief spotlights a summer program for teen girls that took place from July through August, 2005.
The goals of the LA VIDA summer program were:
Goal 1: To increase knowledge of participants in the program around healthy and unhealthy relationships, dating violence and sexual assault.
Goal 2: To provide participants with skills which reduce the likelihood of becoming involved in unhealthy relationships later in life.
Goal 3: To enable participants to spread the information and skills they have learned in this program to teach other teens about sexual assault and dating violence.
Sessions were designed to be interactive and included artwork and poetry. Activities were incorporated from several curricula, including “Reaching and Teaching Teens to Stop Violence,” “Safedates,” and LA VIDA’s Amigas curriculum. Participants met for two sessions per week, each session lasting two hours over the course of five weeks and discussed and explored the themes outlined in the curriculum box (see Box 1 below). The program was held at Latino Family Services’ Youth Program, a neighboring non-profit located within southwest Detroit. At the end of the sessions, an art display was held at CHASS Center to showcase participants’ artwork and poetry, and this display was attended by participants, family members, friends and community members.
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The LA VIDA Summer Prevention Program was targeted to Latina and other southwest Detroit teen girls. Specific needs of this population include cultural sensitivity and incorporation of culture throughout the program, and fun and interactive sessions where teens could explore their identities. Participants were recruited from the local high school through partnerships formed with the CHASS school-based clinic and from individuals already enrolled in the summer program held at Latino Family Services, a local community-based organization.
“Preliminary findings indicate that the program was effective in improving the self-esteem of individuals with lower self assessment of their worth than the participants overall”
The evaluation design involved a pre/post test, journaling throughout each session and a qualitative post reflection on the results, accomplishments, facilitating factors and challenges. All 21 teens completed the pre/post test. Outcome data is still being analyzed. Preliminary findings indicate that the program was effective in improving the self-esteem of individuals with lower self assessment of their worth than the participants overall. The overall satisfaction with the program averaged out to be 9.1 on a 10 point scale. All participants said that they would recommend this program to a friend. Additionally, many of the participants shared stories around discussing the information provided in the program with their relatives and peers, indicating the reach of this information went beyond just the participants.
Although this program was not designed to be a group for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and never evolved into a therapy group, the girls who had experienced abuse indicated that the activities done in the sessions were therapeutic in terms of helping them to process and move forward.
This curriculum is not currently available to the public. For more information on this program and resources, contact:
Ricardo Guzman, CEO