An Open Letter to Our Summer Interns
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August 2015
2015 Summer Intern Cohort (L to R) Dejauwne Young, Juliane, Frances Walsh, Ashley Lewis, Haley Petersen, Cassidy Meehan, Christian Beauvoir, Emily Rozema, (The L.A. Trust Program Manager, Sang Leng Trieu) Keren Margerefteh, Tatiana Diacova (Not pictured: Alicia Lu)

An Open Letter To our Summer Interns

Dear Summer Interns of 2015,

We have lots of hopes for each one of you. Here are 4 of them: 

1) We hope that the skills and perspectives you take away from your summer with us will affect and bring dimension to the learning many of you will be doing back in the classroom. We hope that when you hear the words, “health care” or “adolescent health services,” not only will your brain light up with recognition, but now so will your heart for the students you’ve met and interacted with in this, the second largest school district in the nation.

2) Not too many people get to explore school-based health care (SBHC) on this level. We hope what you’ve experienced this summer has ignited in you a fierce advocacy for this SBHC movement, for the access to care it offers and for the ways health and education are inextricably linked, each one enabling and yet fully dependent on the other.

3) We hope the exposure you’ve had each week to various guests and work styles have opened your minds to the wide range of career trajectories that are open to you. True, there’s so much to be done in public health, but there have never been more ways to come at it! We can’t wait to see your way.

4) We hope you have learned that self-care and play are as important as the work. And sometimes, when the work is particularly challenging, it’s actually play that can bring about an epiphany, making it better.

Here are 5 things WE will take away as a result of our time together:

1) Being around you is just plain fun. Through your energy and eagerness you helped make meetings and outings (and #trustings) a happy time for us.  

2) You all do darn good work! Thanks to you we have a variety of new tools to take into the new school year: flyers, fact sheets, data, legislative visits, presentations, etc. They will be used well.

3) We learned that you are natural gardeners. Those of you who worked with our Linked Learners imparted not only your expertise, but your mentorship. It was impactful to see, yet again, that when a young student senses that an adult cares about them personally, they thrive like summer flowers. You led with your hearts, then your smarts, becoming gardeners to a bumper crop of nineteen 11th graders.

4) You reminded us to live bravely, for that is what you have done through your powerful blog entries. You took the challenge to go deep and reflect upon your own personal feelings and revelations that resonated through your work. Through your eyes we were reminded that the design of a space can impact the delivery of care, how debilitating it can be to not feel safe where one lives, and what you see when you enter a Wellness Center. One of you even posited that if we can’t figure out how to reduce the stigma around seeking mental health services, it is likely our children simply will not seek them. And we all suffer when that happens.

5) Mostly what you leave us with (besides a really deep pool of competent, young professionals to hire, and recommend to our friends and colleagues in the field) is a bigger heart. You made us better than we were before you got here. So thank you. We feel very fortunate to have had you in our midst this summer. We will miss you and wish you the best in your bright futures.

Student Health = Student Success

MJ Signature
Maryjane Puffer, BSN, MPA
Executive Director
The L.A. Trust for Children's Health


Linked Learning Yields Dividends

On July 31, as part of the culmination of a Linked Learning pilot program (whereby 17 LAUSD highschool juniors were gainfully employed for four weeks to help create tools promoting the LAUSD Wellness Network), The L.A. Trust came together with LAUSD's Linked Learning division to highlight the work of both the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and multimedia track students. It was a powerful event, attended by more than 30 folks, led by trainers Waldo Gonzalez and Pam Cohen. Over the coming months we will feature the fruits of their labors which include 6 public service announcements, as well as maps, timelines, flyers, brochures, wallet cards, and a "bill of rights," all focusing on healthy relationships, obesity prevention, and minor consent. In follow-up surveys the students, chosen from four area high schools (Fremont, Manual Arts, Hawkins and Huntington Park), described the program as effective, skill-building, and an extremely positive learning experience. We agree wholeheartedly.



The L.A. Trust Board Goes Bowling

Youth development and leadership training remain a key plank in our strategic plan. For the second year in a row, the Board of Directors of The L.A. Trust along with student representatives from each of our Wellness Center campuses (a.k.a. our Youth Advisory Board)  came together for a fun afternoon of bowling at Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes at L.A. Live. During the subsequent meeting, the students made recommendations on what "healthy" changes they'd like to see made on their respective campuses. "These kind of opportunities where students get to meet, interact with, and present to professional adults are rare and important" said Waldo Gonzalez, The L.A. Trust's Student Engagement Program Coordinator. "Not only do these young adults get to learn from our esteemed board members, but the members themselves get a chance to perhaps remember why they are working so hard and for whom. And since many of our students have health career aspirations, having representatives from CVS Caremark there sharing  interview tips and career advice was particularly meaningful."

ECLW Steps Back to School: Year 3

The Early Childhood Linkages to Wellness (ECLW) program (sponsored through First 5 LAaims to improve children’s health and academic outcomes by connecting families to physical, mental and oral health services offered by our Wellness Centers and other LAUSD programs and community partners.  ECLW staff coordinate resources for families, engage parents through trainings and workshops, enhance provider capacity through evidenced-based practices, and provide developmental screenings for children ages 0-5.  In the 2014/2015 school year, the ECLW program provided over 250 developmental screenings, provided case management services or referrals to over 500 families and conducted over 200 parent trainings or workshops. Click here for an infographic illustrating the great work of ECLW and highlighting their vision and goals moving forward. We look forward to another impactful school year!  



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Save the Date! Tooth Fairy Convention: Sunday, October 11!

We want you there! Mark it on your calendar: October 11, Sunday, 10am - 2pm at Exposition Park, (Christmas Tree Lane), just outside the California Science Center. There will be kid-friendly activities, fun, healthy foods, give-aways, prizes, oral health screenings (which will result in families finding "dental homes"), and perhaps, best of all: adult-centered, easy-breezy education on how oral health plays a role in our everyday lives: "Oral Health and Your Baby," "Oral Health Care and Academic Success," "Oral health Care and Tap Water," 'Oral Health and Financial Sustainability," etc. ...the list goes on! Please help us spread the word! The Tooth Fairy herself may just appear that day, and indoctrinate all attendees to become honorary "Tooth Fairies." Click here for more information and last minute sponsorship opportunities.


Gerardo Torres is a Senior at Fremont High School and member of the The L.A. Trust's Youth Advisory Board.

Meet Our Youth Advisory Leaders: Gerardo Torres

Gerardo Torres:  Senior, Fremont High School, Environmental and Social Justice Academy
Why did you decide to join The L.A. Trust YAB?  I like being involved in things that help the community. I like stuff like this. I found it interesting that they (The L.A. Trust) had a youth group and so I wanted to be a part of it.  And to be a part of that change. 

What changes are you looking forward to affecting on the Fremont campus? I want to raise awareness about health issues. And specifically about prevention on topics like obesity, STDs, HIV rates, teen pregnancies, and healthy relationships. I want to be sure we reach as many people as we can.

What are your career goals/after high school?
I have been trying to figure out what I want to do, and it has been a bit of rocky road. I’m still on it, but I kind of have an idea now.  I want to be some kind of social worker at a high school or hospital. I could see myself providing counseling for children/teens  -- mental health counseling. 

To learn more about The L.A. Trust, visit our website here!
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