On August 4 at the Mexican Mutual Society, The Nord Center offered a program for 20 Latinx adolescents called “Degregreso a Clases Empoderado” or Back to School Empowered. The curriculum covered sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assault, self-care and social media. Both to encourage participation in the program and in part because the students will benefit from it, the project provided each student with a backpack of school supplies as well as snacks and beverages.
The background of this project is that several years ago, The Nord Center was awarded funding from the Ohio Department of Health to provide outreach to the Latinx community in Lorain for sexual assault services. While sexual assault is a problem that crosses all cultural boundaries, there is often particular reluctance to talk about matters perceived to be private outside the home and thus people may not receive the assistance they need in the wake of a traumatic event.
As part of the outreach program to the Latinx community, a committee of community representatives was formed which has met and worked in collaboration throughout the project. The actual program has been very successful and has had its funding renewed twice, including in the current year which was a competitive application.
The grassroots Committee developed a slogan and a logo. The slogan is ¡Basta Ya! It’s OK to talk about it. This has been shared on rack cards, t-shirts, billboards and even facemasks. Direct service has been provided in collaboration with El Centro de Servicios Sociales and the sexual assault services program has seen participation significantly increase among the Latinx population during the period of this additional outreach.
An underserved sub-group within the underserved Latinx community is adolescents. Thus as one of its priorities, the planning committee recommended the implementation of a special program aimed at this population. Going along with the theme that it’s OK to talk about certain sensitive subjects, the aim of this program is to enable teens to get good information and to help them also understand that these topics can and should be discussed.