Empower Latino Youth (ELAYO): Leveraging Youth Voice to Inform the Public Debate on Pregnancy, Parenting and Education

Elodia Villaseñor, Miguel Alcalá, Ena Suseth Valladares, Miguel A. Torres, Vanessa Mercado, Cynthia A. Gómez

Abstract


Youth perspectives are routinely absent from research and policy initiatives. This article presents a project that infuses youth participation, training and mentorship into the research process and teaches youth how to become policy advocates. Empower Latino Youth (ELAYO) studies the individual and systemic factors impacting sexuality and childbearing among Latino youth and seeks to reduce negative stereotypes and elevate the social standing of Latino youth. As a team-in-training, ELAYO provides adolescents, undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to develop research skills while learning the importance of linking science to policy.  This paper was developed in collaboration with Latino youth.


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