Research shows that more than half of Latina girls get pregnant before age twenty and that teen pregnancy in Texas is predicted to continue increasing due to projected population growth of Latino adolescents. As an organization devoted to addressing the physical, social and emotional wellbeing of Latino and other families in Central Texas, TNOYS member El Buen Samaritano began to see a need to enhance its services for the growing population of pregnant and parenting Latina teens. Thanks to a new grant from the Austin Community Foundation’s Hispanic Impact Fund, the organization will now have the resources to do that.
Teen pregnancy is linked to health risks for both mother and child, poverty, school dropout, and unemployment, all of which have a significant impact on family health and wellbeing. So it only makes sense that El Buen Samaritano offers reproductive and health care services for Latina teens as part of its efforts to promote healthy behaviors among Austin area families. But effectively reaching and engaging youth isn’t always easy – it often requires extra time and resources to ensure that outreach and services are tailored to youth audiences and take into account their needs and concerns. (See TNOYS’ Youth Engagement Toolkit for more about how to engage youth in programming and services.)
The grant from the Hispanic Impact Fund will allow El Buen Samaritano to enhance its services for Latina teens by:
- Building staff capacity by hiring a part-time youth “promotor” for culturally appropriate outreach among teens and reproductive educational programming,
- Enhancing the appeal of the program by training staff to work with young people and creating a youth-friendly environment, and
- Implementing data collection tools and evaluation strategies to create strong protocols and an evaluation plan to ensure program effectiveness.
As part of its consultation and facilitation services, TNOYS assisted El Buen Samaritano in applying for and securing the grant funding and will continue to support the resulting project, particularly in the areas of data collection and evaluation. TNOYS’ staff experts have been able to bring knowledge of the latest research, policy, and practice in the areas of youth engagement, project management, and program evaluation to help craft a strong grant proposal and ensure it meets its goals.
Ultimately, the grant will allow El Buen to increase the number of Latina girls participating in effective reproductive education and healthcare services, serving 400 Latina teens, and reducing the rate of teen pregnancy among Latinas in Central Texas. El Buen Samaritano has been providing much-needed services for three decades and this grant is just one more way for the organization to grow and adapt so they can continue to meet the needs of the communities they serve.