At the Youth Zone

This post was written by Vaughan Skinker, Youth Outreach and Care Coordinator at Children’s Adolescent and Young Adult Health Care Center.

One of the projects I’ve been working on during my year with the National Health Corps is a Health Talks Speaker Series. The health talks are given at the 412 Youth Zone, a drop-in center for young folks who are unstably housed and/or are transitioning out of children, youth, and family services. Thinking about the adolescent and young-adult population’s needs and interests, the objectives of the health talks are the following: to promote and facilitate discussions about health topics relevant to adolescents and young adults; to collaborate with and invite organizations from the Pittsburgh community to present at the Youth Zone to foster positive interactions between the youth and the organizations; and to provide opportunities for service providers and community organizations to engage with the adolescents and young adults at the Youth Zone. Below is a list of health talks given by myself, fellow National Health Corps members, and various community partners.

  • STI prevention and management & safe sex: Children’s Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine and Allegheny County Health Department.
  • Healthy eating & diabetes prevention and management: Shadyside Family Health Center and the Pittsburgh Food Bank
  • Mental health discussion: Children’s Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine
  • Dignity and respect: Allegheny County Health Department
  • Menstrual cycle and feminine hygiene: Children’s Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine
  • Goal setting with a health focus:Children’s Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine
  • Women, infants, and children information session: WIC of Allegheny County
  • Eating on a budget: Learn about food-assistance programs available in the community: Pittsburgh Food Bank
  • Healthy relationships and dating violence: Center for Victims
  • Prenatal care and centering: Shadyside Family Health Center
  • Dental hygiene and care: University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine
  • Healthy eating and lifestyle: University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitative Sciences
  • Smoking cessation: Shadyside Family Health Center
  • Mindfulness: University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work
  • Alcohol education and harm reduction: University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work

Another project I worked on this year was in partnership with Northside Common Ministries, Art Expressions, the Homeless Children’s Education Fund, and the 412 Youth Zone. Northside Common Ministries was granted a Sprout Fund to put on an art show, titled Walk On By, that centered around homelessness, housing instability, and lack of affordable housing in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. The Director reached out to me and asked if I knew of any youth that wanted to be involved. The grant required that the youth create one art piece together. Taking into consideration that these young folks lead busy lives and aren’t always able to get down to the Youth Zone, we decided to create a mosaic. Each youth created a canvas that “discussed” their experiences with housing instability and homelessness. Fifteen youth artists attended Walk On By’s opening night. Here is their creation: