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La Liga de Las Americas

Brain gain, not drain, for local Cleveland youth  

Summer is coming to a close, but for twelve young men from the Cleveland area it’s been a busy summer of working and learning.

Twelve teen males, ages fourteen to seventeen, are participating in Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland’s and the Hispanic Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program (HUMADAOP)’s Triple T: Teens Talking to Teens program.  The goal of the program is to support the development of healthy lifestyles and responsible choices among adolescents in Greater Cleveland.  

Fueled by the belief that teens possess more credibility and approachability among their peers than adults, Triple T intensely trains a cadre of teenage boys to take messages about male responsibility, healthy lifestyles, and character development to their peers.  

Triple T teens, all participants in HUMADAOP’s Hispanic Youth Center , spent eight weeks this summer being educated in such areas as leadership, communications, conflict resolution, fiscal responsibility, and sexual and reproductive health.  

Following the summer session, the teens will spend the school year developing projects to share these lessons with the Cleveland community at venues such as community centers, schools, and other public locations.  

Trevor Scheetz, Triple T intern and rising Senior at Case Western Reserve University , said, “This is a wonderful program and an amazing idea.  We teach lessons on responsibility to twelve teens, who then go out and touch the lives of hundreds of others.  I can’t think of a better or more meaningful way to spend a summer.”  

In addition to the three days per week the teens have spent in a classroom-type setting, they have also spent one day a week working at a Community Partner organization.  These partner organizations have teamed up with Planned Parenthood to assist in the training of Triple T participants and to receive help on projects and programs.   

For example, Triple T participants placed at Esperanza are helping young children learn to read, while teens working with Neighborhood Family Practice are involved in planning a Teen Health Summit.  Other Community Partners include the Greater Cleveland AIDS Taskforce and the Antioch Baptist Church AGAPE program.  

This is the inaugural summer of Triple T, and it has gone extremely well.  Anthony Adkisson, Planned Parenthood Community Educator and creator of Triple T, said, “Triple T is a wonderful opportunity to develop much-needed programming for males in Greater Cleveland.  We’ve had a wonderful time working with these young men, and the real impact—the peer education—is yet to come.”   

Adkisson added, “We’re very excited about the future of Triple T, and we anticipate making it an annual program.”  

Felix Muñiz, Youth Center Coordinator for HUMADAOP, noted, “I constantly have kids knocking on my door, asking how they can get involved with Triple T.”   

Muñiz also explained, “The strength of Triple T is that it empowers our youth not only with academic skills, but also economically.  One of the biggest problems facing our teens is trouble finding employment, and with Triple T, I believe they develop an insight on the importance of leadership skills and clear communication.”





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