Wishing you happy holidays and a memorable new year.
This holiday season, I have been reflecting on what holidays mean. There are so many different traditions and a multitude of ways to celebrate, but all traditions and celebrations, at their core, are similar. Essentially, the holidays are about community, about taking the time to be with loved ones and to express values we hold like generosity, gratitude, and service, among others.
With these values in mind, I wanted to reach out to the California Adolescent Health Collaborative community, our many wonderful partners, supporters, colleagues, and participants, and say, "Thank you" - thank you for being a part of our community. While we don't always have the opportunity to convene in person, we value our ties with each of you and hope you will continue to stay connected with us online through Facebook, Twitter, and our website.
We have accomplished so much together this year, so I wanted to share with you a special sampling:
- We've provided (and continue to provide) healthy relationships education, comprehensive sex ed, and technological vocational education to nearly 200 young people in the Central Valley.
- We've trained five youth co-researchers with whom we have collaboratively conducted and analyzed 15 interviews exploring social and structural factors that influence breastfeeding among young mothers, and created over 90 photo-narratives on the marketing of E-Cigarettes to young people in Oakland.
- We've launched a new project with Asian Health Services in Oakland and Livingston Community Health in the Central Valley. This project will aim to build and connect inter-generational research boards in these two diverse communities.
This year, we've also spent time as a team working with the fabulous Nicole Sirivansanti in order to articulate the values that are foundational to all of the work that we do, values that we proudly share with you this season.
Our values inform our current work, partnerships, internal team functioning, and future directions:
Youth are valued partners in all our work, they hold meaningful decision-making roles in our programs and our teams. We reject adultism and the systemic stigmatization of adolescents.
We engage with people, organizations and movements as allies. We strategically lead, partner, or follow in our collaborative initiatives. We are students of collective impact.
We ascribe to the WHO definition of health: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
4. Social Justice:
We recognize that patterns of health and illness are shaped by social structures and systems; to improve and protect our health, youth health, and community health we must change systems.
In order to make change, we need to change the way we do business. We use research methods to answer new questions and innovate new solutions.
6. Equity Focused:
With limited resources we strategically focus on identifying populations and communities with the greatest opportunity to add value.
We believe in our work, are passionate about quality and outcomes, and are responsible stewards of resources that have been entrusted to us.
Humor is essential to wellness, communication, and team chemistry.
9. Cultural Humility:
We choose to be humble, curious, and always learning.
With gratitude for our community, we at CAHC wish you all the happiest of holidays, and we look forward to a wonderfully productive and joyful 2017.
Alison, Bre'Jaynae, Chelsey, Elizabeth, Elva, Gayle, Julia, Katie, Robert
The California Adolescent Health Collaborative Team