Latino Services Providers (LSP) is a community based non-profit network organization whose mission is to be a bridge across generations for the Latinx community focusing on health, culture, and social issues. We do this by: developing young leaders; building awareness and connections to community services; and advocating for equity across race and ethnicity. The Youth Promotor Internship, a project funded by the CA Department of Public Health and the Sonoma County Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), seeks to address the mental health, emergency preparedness, civic engagement, and environmental education inequities in the Latinx community of Sonoma County.
Latino Service Providers Youth Promotor Model provides paid internships to bilingual and bicultural students (ages 16-25) in Sonoma County. The goal of the Youth Promotor Internship Program is to meaningfully engage the Latinx community on issues that impact health outcomes in Sonoma County, and inspire the future community health workforce. The required commitment is a minimum of ONE YEAR.
Specific duties include but may not be limited to:
Attend MANDATORY experiential learning activities, as listed below, and others highly recommended throughout the year to further leadership development, learning, and practice:
APRIL 12, 2024: Noche de Padres y Amigos (Orientation night for new Youth Promotores and their parents/guardians)
JUNE-JULY 2024: Introduction to Community Health Work Course and Certification
JULY 19-21, 2024: Weekend Retreat at Alliance Redwoods
AUGUST 2024: Youth Mental Health First Aid Course and Certification
SEPTEMBER 2024: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
DECEMBER 2024: Annual Winter Celebration
MAY 2025: Mental Health Awareness Month, Annual Stomp the Stigma Event, and End of the Year Celebration
Attend MANDATORY Youth Promotor Monthly Meetings once a month between May 2024 to May 2025 (every third Friday of the month from 5 pm- 7:30 pm).
Participate and/or present in mental/community health workshops/forums/symposiums; social media campaign and art project development; and a menu of other projects and their implementation; conduct surveys/platicas; research; and other outreach activities.
Participate in program evaluation by completing surveys, interviews, and documenting activities.
Disseminate applications to potential Youth Promotores for Youth Promotor Internship Program, and help coordinate recruitment presentations with appropriate administrators and teachers.
This track focuses on mental health awareness and advocacy in the Latinx community of Sonoma County with the goal of de-stigmatizing mental health, increasing awareness of mental health challenges, and educating the Latinx community on mental health resources. Previous Promotores have focused projects on self-care, tips for parents, know the signs of depression and suicide, suicide prevention, teen dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and substance abuse among other topics.
This track is intended to inform the Latinx community on the importance of emergency preparedness by creating culturally and linguistically appropriate educational materials, leading platicas around emergency preparedness, and creating bilingual videos to inform the community of resources. The goal of this work is to increase community resilience and impact mental health outcomes after a disaster.
Youth Promotores under this track focus on engaging the Latinx community in Sonoma County around housing advocacy. Topics explored under this track include housing, city planning, and civic engagement. The goal of this work is to increase civic participation of the Latinx community in housing policy, and inform the community of the intersection between these issues and mental health wellbeing.
Under this track, Youth Promotores focus on providing environmental education and climate science resources to the Latinx community. Youth Promotores work toward raising awareness about climate change and mental health wellbeing with a goal of increasing the number of Latinx community members who take proactive steps to address it.
Youth Promotores (YP) who are bilingual (Spanish/English), bicultural youth (between the ages of 16-25) who have successfully completed 1 year as a YP with the LSP YP Program, and are now interested in co-leading a new group of YP’s and supporting the staff of the YP Internship Program in the following categories: Evaluation, YP Support, Community Outreach, Program Administration Support, Research, and more.
In 2021, Youth Promotor Leads Sarahi Hernandez, Melissa Hernandez Nieto, Monserrat Salas, and Jessica Martinez Reyes worked with Sacramento State University’s Department of Public Health Professor Heather Diaz and Assistant Professor Ahna Suleiman on a research study focusing on resiliency in Sonoma County’s Latinx youth. The research team underwent training in research methods and youth-adult partnerships, developed a research plan and interview guide, applied for IRB review and approval, and implemented the data collection and analysis to uncover three key nodal themes. The results of this study were presented at the 2022 AMA Conference in Chicago, IL. The recording of this presentation can be watched HERE
In the Spring of 2022, Youth Promotor Leads conducted a photovoice research project to better understand how youths’ surroundings in the communities they live in affect their mental wellbeing. Participants identified as Latinx and were between the ages 18-25. The results of this project can be explored HERE
The LSP YP Paso-a-Paso Program, a workforce development project that seeks to create entry level community health worker opportunities for YP, is looking for bilingual (Spanish/English), bicultural youth (between the ages of 16-25) who have successfully completed 1 (preferably 2) years as a Youth Promotor with the LSP YP Program, and are now interested in learning about careers in the track areas of the YP Program (i.e. Promotores de Salud Mental, Promotores Preparados, Promotores Verdes, and Promotores de Vivienda). Pro Promotores will work within partner organizations in Sonoma County, while receiving coaching and mentorship from LSP staff; participate in a one-year training program focused on workforce development skills; and gain work experience and career development which gives them realistic exposure to potential employment opportunities.
“It feels like a second family to me. It’s kind of hard sometimes to find a group of people that understand you and with LSP it feels like we’re all basically in the same boat, we all come from similar backgrounds and we’re able to understand each other fairly well.”
– Youth Promotor, 2020
“Yo siempre he querido aprender cómo cambiar el estigma y estos típs son muy buenos aparte mi hija me ha ayudado a entender que tengo que escuchar si quiero ser parte del cambio.”
“I have always wanted to learn how to change the stigma and these tips are very good and my daughter has helped me understand that I have to listen if I want to be a part of the change.”
Participante de la Comunidad/Community Participant • 2020
Overall Reach: Since 2017, 168 Youth Promotores have participated in the internship, completing over 5,000 hours of training and service in over 200 community events and meetings. The program has achieved over 26,000 social media touches to date.
97% of Youth Promotores said the program increased their confidence in some way.
74% said the program built their confidence with communication or goal setting, while 46% said the program built their confidence in navigating mental health resources.
Connectedness and Cultural Belonging:
68% of Youth Promotores showed improvements on connectedness indicators.
For example, before the internship, 86% agreed that their culture gave them strength, whereas 93% agreed after the internship.
According to exit interview data, 95% felt more connected to their peers and program staff, while 70% felt more connected to family and 60% to community as a result of the program.
Agency to Seek Service: The program has a profound impact on Youth Promotores’ capacity to seek mental health services for themselves or assist others.
49% reported that they actively helped a family member or friend seek mental health services.
14% reported that they sought and received mental health services for the first time for themselves
Community Impact: 98% of community participants reported a positive change in knowledge as a result of attending a YP presentation (n=240).
Problem & Solution:
17% of Sonoma County students surveyed considered suicide in the past 12 months*
32% of Sonoma County students surveyed felt chronic sadness or hopelessness in the past 12 months
70% of Sonoma County students surveyed felt anxious about the future**
* California Healthy Kids Survey of Sonoma County students in grades 7, 9, 11 (2017-2019)
** YouthTruth Survey of Sonoma County high school students (n=4,500), 2019
The Youth Promotor internship is a prevention and early intervention program that builds knowledge, cultural connectedness, confidence, workforce skills and develops agency within the Latinx community to seek mental health services.
Latino Service Providers (LSP) trains Latinx youth, ages 16-25 years, to be mental health Youth Promotores via a structured paid internship program and gives them ample support and opportunities to present mental health education and resources through community conversations (pláticas). Youth Promotores engage the Latinx community, offer information in Spanish and English and are culturally responsive.
“I’ve had conversations about mental health with friends and family outside of the program. And one of the things that I talk about in these conversations is just how quickly things can change and how all the little things can pile up and take a toll on your mental health.”
The program develops youth professional skills and mental health knowledge, builds confidence, promotes cultural connection and belonging, and inspires the next workforce of bilingual and bicultural providers. The long-term goal is a thriving Latinx community who are connected in mind, body, and spirit.