I am an Atlas Corps fellow who is currently serving at the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), a non –profit organization with a mission “to empower a diverse population of youth to achieve a successful transition to adulthood through multi-cultural, comprehensive, and innovative programs that address youths’ social, academic, and career needs”. Within the LAYC, I am serving in the Social Services Department, where I support the Healthy Relationships Program. It is one of my favorites programs and I am so glad for the work that we do with the women and the youth in general.
We run different weekly groups to meet different goals. Some of our groups for young women survivors of domestic or sexual violence offer supportive environments for learning and healing. Other groups, where both young men and women participate seek to educate and prevent gender-based violence among youth, because we believe that gender-based violence is a matter of importance to both genders.
The work done so far with the survivors of domestic and sexual violence has been very rewarding to the participants and to me. The young women really appreciate this space and they usually express how their participation in this group have been life changing and how important it is to have a place to desahogarse (venting their frustrations and emotions to others) and finding support for their emotional and material needs.
On the other hand, the groups focused on gender-based violence prevention and education, we want to empower young men and young women to become independent thinkers and build critical-thinking skills that allow them to recognize the visible and invisibles marks of violence, specifically gender-based violence.
March is known as Women’s History Month, often focusing on important or famous historical individual. But, it should also be the month to honor all the women (young and old) we see every day who bravely take action to stop the cycle of violence. And it should also highlight those men and women that make it their responsibility to advocate for a more equal society. They exist and I am so proud of working with them and for them.