BATON ROUGE, La., Sept. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Louisiana Healthcare Connections is partnering with YWCA of Northwest Louisiana to implement a two-year pilot, Young Women Choosing Action, focused on addressing long-term wellness outcomes for teen girls ages 13-19.
YWCA of Northwest Louisiana is one of only four YWCA associations nationwide selected to pilot the Young Women Choosing Action program, which is designed to support teen girls and young women in developing decision-making and relationship-building skills that will support their long-term health and wellness.
"We have seen major positive changes in the participants over the course duration," says Belinda Roberson, Ph.D., Executive Director of YWCA of Northwest Louisiana. "The program incorporates several practices that help the participants manage trauma and stress. During the program, the girls learn positive coping strategies and how to avoid harmful situations."
Sequoia Taylor, 15, a participant of the first Young Women Choosing Action course cycle, says, "What a wonderful program. It was informative, different, yet fun. I learned a lot, especially about mindfulness and the teenage brain. I feel that must be important because my assistant principal has a poster outside his door that says, 'Train your Brain.' I also was impacted by learning how social media can have so many negative effects on our brain. The program has inspired me to want to share what I have learned with my friends as well."
The YWCA is proud to have the support of Louisiana First Lady Donna Edwards.
"As a former teacher and mother of two daughters, I have seen first-hand how education can transform lives by instilling a sense of self-confidence and teaching irreplaceable life skills," says Edwards. "The decisions we make today could impact us for a lifetime, which is why it is critical that we help our young girls understand their value, learn how to make decisions that are in their best interest and give them the tools to live healthy and productive lives. I'm so proud of Sequoia and the others who participated in the Young Women Choosing Action program. It is clearly making a difference and in keeping with the mission of the YWCA of empowering our young ladies to create a great future for themselves and their communities."
Young Women Choosing Action is intended to benefit all teen girls, but it is specifically designed to address the higher rates of trauma and more limited resources for healthy development that low-income and young women of color are likely to face. The program helps young women learn and practice skills that support personal empowerment, strong relationships, and greater community engagement, all within an intersectional leadership development framework. The 12-week program, designed with continuous review and input from an independent evaluator and a clinical specialist, provides tools to expand physical and emotional responses to trauma, cultivate personal well-being practices, and build capacity as leaders.
Jamie Schlottman, Plan President & CEO, said, "Louisiana Healthcare Connections is honored to partner with YWCA of Northwest Louisiana, which has been a dedicated advocate for women in the Shreveport region since 1925. We share their commitment to improving the health of Louisiana's communities, and support their mission to eliminate racism, empower women and strengthen communities through action. We look forward to seeing the impact we can create together for the young women like Sequoia who participate and the communities where they live."
Upon completion of the two-year pilot in spring 2020, YWCA of Northwest Louisiana will join the selected YWCA programs in Northwest Ohio, Brooklyn, N.Y., and Watsonville, Calif., in submitting final evaluations of the pilot project. These evaluations will be used by YWCA USA to develop a final curriculum to make the program available nationally.
About Louisiana Healthcare Connections
Established to deliver quality healthcare through local, regional and community-based partners, Louisiana Healthcare Connections is a Healthy Louisiana Plan headquartered in Baton Rouge, La. Louisiana Healthcare Connections exists to improve the health of its members through focused, compassionate and coordinated care. Because Louisiana Healthcare Connections believes healthy is a way of life, its members benefit from programs and services designed for their personal well-being. For more information, visit www.LouisianaHealthConnect.com.
About YWCA of Northwest Louisiana
YWCA of Northwest Louisiana, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. The YWCA of Northwest Louisiana is a part of an international movement with service to over 2 million in the United States and 25 million worldwide. For more information about this important work, visit www.ywcanwla.org.
SOURCE Louisiana Healthcare Connections