September 6, 2002

Samahan Youth-2-Youth Center Hosts A Neighborhood Conference

NATIONAL CITY — A neighborhood conference focusing on teen issues, sexuality and violence is scheduled on Saturday, September 14 at Sweetwater High School cafeteria, on Highland Avenue, National City.

“This conference is an effort to raise very important youth issues that we, as a community, are often hesitant to talk about,” Joel H. San Juan, Executive Director stated. “We are bringing both teens and adults at the table to initiate an interactive dialogue between them.”

The “Hot Spot” report prepared by Jeff Gould, MD, MPH, identifies National City as one of the 82 communities with teen birth rates higher than average. Yet few residents in the city are aware of this fact and not many people are interested in addressing the issue.

Moreover, the prevailing conservative views on sexuality discourage many community based organizations, including Samahan, from openly discussing controversial topics such as safe sex practices and the concept of healthy adolescent sexuality.

“Latino and Filipino families share many family values in common,” San Juan continued, “including attitudes toward sex. With a strong Catholic influence, both groups avoid discussing anything to do with sex among their children. Yet, youth participants in our focus group had openly expressed that they wished their parents had guided them in forming a healthy concept of sexuality. Samahan Youth-2-Youth Center serves as a community resources that addresses this gap.”

The conference provides an interactive approach to bridge the generation gap. Doug Luffborough, Executive Director and Founder of Turning the Hearts Center will provide a motivational speech addressing youth issues.

“Young people have more power than you think,” Luffborough commented. “All they need is the information, education and awareness that they will make the right decisions.”

This community event was made possible by a generous grant from the California Wellness Foundation. Samahan Youth-2-Youth Center is one of the nine community based organizations that received a three-year funding to develop culturally competent teen pregnancy prevention programs in California.

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