Adelante Ambassadors: Using Digital Media to Facilitate Community Engagement and Risk-Prevention for Latino Youth
Keywords:youth, adolescents, positive youth development, Latinos, immigrants, Hispanics, user-generated content, social media, prevention
Digital and social media are now widely used to promote engagement in health programs and improve health behaviors across a variety of age groups and domains. However, limited research exists on applying culturally relevant, new media interventions specific to Latino immigrant youth. This paper describes the pilot Adelante Youth Ambassador program for Latino immigrant youth, which used digital media and community-based participatory research to build positive youth development (PYD) assets as a prevention mechanism to reduce co-occurring health risks of substance use, sexual risk, and interpersonal violence. We worked collaboratively with adolescents to create video content as a conduit for Adelante-branded messages to be disseminated on the program’s social media platforms. Using an active audience engagement methodology, youth participants informed the development of prevention messages, scripts for the videos, and acted in videos. Participants disseminated content to their social media networks and engaged peers in dialogue about topics addressed in the videos. Using pre and post tests, we evaluated changes in PYD assets (Civic Action Competence, Confidence, Connection to Community, and Connection to Peers) and skills related to digital media use, communication, and advocacy. The program used innovative branding and social media strategies to engage Latino youth in health risk prevention.
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