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Funded Projects

Grant Status: Completed

Grant Title: House of Teens (HOT): A Center for Health Promotion and Youth Advocacy for New Britain Teens

Web Site: Community Health Center, Inc. Project Exit Disclaimer

Project Director(s):

Yvette Highsmith-Francis
Community Health Center, Inc.
New Britain, CT
Phone: (860) 852-0814
Email: yvette@chc1.com


New Britain's low income and minority teens have limited access to medical homes and community-based services. These services are underutilized due to multiple barriers. As a result, our target group (250 predominately Latina teens) experience some of the poorest health outcomes in CT.

Goals and Objectives:

Goal 1: By the end of year 1, conduct planning activities to prepare for establishment of "House of Teens", a youth-led teen center for health promotion and youth advocacy, at the YWCA in Spring 2014. Objective 1: By November 2013, identify a Youth Advocacy Coordinator (YAC) to coordinate center activities, provide peer counseling and guidance for youth advocacy initiatives. Objective 2: By November 2013 recruit 6-8 teens from NBHS to serve as a leadership team in establishing the center, defining activities and recruiting other teens. Objective 3: By the end of February 2014, develop a "blueprint" for teen center based on PV project and incorporating community/school input; schedule activities and obtain provider commitments. Goal 2: In Year 1, establish the groundwork for a House of Teens, providing 45-50 teens per year with a comprehensive menu of services to improve their access to a medical home and community resources. Objective 1: By 10/2013, identify providers from CHC and partner agencies to provide counseling and referrals in areas of concern identified in PV project. Objective 2: By January 2014, with support from NBHS guidance, identify 20-25 teens who have failed school-based PE; enroll them in an enhanced physical fitness program at the Y that meets NBHS PE requirements and provides additional HOT services (e.g., stress reduction, reproductive health counseling) Goal 3: In year 1, complete one Photovoice workshop designed to generate planning ideas for the new Teen Center. Objective 1: By November 2013, train 6 teen leaders and the YAC in Photovoice methodology and conduct initial PV workshop (training provided by program consultant Jayme Hannay). Objective 2: By Spring 2014, discuss with NBHS curriculum committee integration of PV into the school curriculum qualifying for credit or as an Independent Study in Health Academy. Goal 4: Spread Photovoice to other providers in New Britain and the state to promote a coordinated response to improving the health and well-being of youth. Objective 1: By the end of Year 1, expand the HT Advisory Board to include city officials and agencies with interest in PV as a tool for policy change (e.g., Mayors Office) and develop a plan for multi-sectoral use of PV. Objective 2: By the end of February 2014, make at least 2 presentations at NB Youth Network, school board, etc. to raise awareness about PV's potential use as a tool for youth advocacy. Objective 3: By the end of Year 1, submit at least one collaborative proposal for additional funding to implement PV projects.


This new project builds on successful components of CHC's previous Healthy Tomorrows grant (ended 02/2012) and a research grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Salud America! Program. Strengths include established partnerships with the YWCA, high school, Spanish Speaking Center, and academic institutions and new linkages to city government (Mayor's office, etc) that will support broad, sustainable program and policy changes throughout the city. In year 1, the teen center will be established with input from teens, families and partners. It will operate five afternoons a week staffed by a Youth Advocacy Coordinator, AmeriCorps member, CHC nurse practitioner and selected clinicians. These providers will provide primary/preventative care to 40-50 teens per year. It will also be a hub for Photovoice training (10-15 teens per year) to increase their engagement in advocacy projects resulting in policy changes for a healthier city.


This collaborative project benefits from the strong, multi-sectoral partnerships established and expanded over the five-year period of CHC's HT project. Core partners include, New Britain High School, the YWCA, Spanish Speaking Center, DPH, and University of Connecticut. These partners will be joined by key new partners, including the City of New Britain, Mayor's Office, New Britain Youth Network, health department, and parks and recreation.


CHC will collect qualitative and quantitative data to measure the program's impact on individual teens (e.g. increase physical activity, access to medical homes and civic engagement) and the system (e.g. through spread of P.V to other agencies and physicians and the number of policy actions/changes that result).

Experience to Date:

The House of Teens opened in March 2014 with 33 girls enrolled into the program. We offered programs such as one on one health talks with providers (nurses, dieticians, behavioral health), gardening club, zumba, private workouts, yoga, stiching class, and much more. We are currently analyzing pre/post data from the first group of girls who will receive PE/Health Credit. The grand opening is now expected for September 2014.

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