By Liam Day

It’s been a busy winter for the youth programs that make up the Commission’s Youth Development and Health Promotion sub-division.

Boston Area Health Education Center (BAHEC)

BAHEC staff have been teaching at the Umana, the Curley, the Josiah Quincy, and TechBoston Academy. Afterschool programs are running for Introduction to Health and Health Careers, Advanced Introduction to Health and Health Careers, Introduction to Oral Health, Introduction to Medical Interpreting, and the Health Occupation Students of America.

And the members of BAHEC’s Youth Advisory Board received a grant this year from State Farm to provide peer education in fitness and nutrition for elementary and middle school youth at three sites. The Advisory Board members spent much of the winter studying about nutrition and preparing workshops to deliver. They recently delivered their first workshop at the Curley School in Jamaica Plain. You can follow their progress and watch a video clip of one of their workshops here

Peer Leadership Institute (PLI)

PLI staff have also been busy in schools this year, teaching or helping to facilitate peer education at the Community Academy of Science and Health, Madison Park, and the Timilty.

PLI’s peers have to date delivered sexual health and substance abuse prevention education after school to 266 youth across the City at such sites as Boston English High School, the Shelburne Community Center, YouthBuild Boston and Goodwill’s Academy for Girls.

Special Events

In addition to regular programming, BAHEC and PLI have sponsored and participated in a number of events over the course of the winter.

Back in November, BAHEC hosted its first ever college night. Attended by more than 40 students and parents, the evening’s speakers provided information about the college application and financial aid process, as well as what students can expect once they get to college. This spring BAHEC will team up with Accelerated College Experiences to provide students an intense, two-day crash course on the academic expectations they will need to meet when they start college and the skills that will help them meet them, including how to take and use lecture notes to study for a final exam.

BAHEC youth jobs rally

In February, youth from PLI and BAHEC took an active role in the Youth Jobs Rally at the State House, meeting with Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz to advocate for funding for youth jobs in the state budget. PLI’s Public Policy peers will continue to track the state budget as it winds its way through first the House and then the Senate to make sure the line item for youth jobs remains intact.

BAHEC youth jobs rally2

More recently, BAHEC hosted a panel for more than 25 students at Boston Medical Center, where they had the chance to meet and ask questions of residents in a number of different fields, including emergency medicine, pediatrics, and surgery.


Finally, on March 7, BAHEC teamed up with the O’Bryant School of Math and Science to host a Healthcare Career Expo. The Expo is a regular part of the Summer Enrichment Program, but this was the first time we tried hosting it at a school during the school day. It was an overwhelming success, attended by more than 200 students and 20 professionals, in fields ranging from Anesthesiology to Nursing to Social Work.

Coming Up

As we can now see the end of the school year in our windshield, PLI and BAHEC are busily preparing for the summer. Afterschool programming will wrap up on May 22, 2013, with the Student Showcase, at which all of the programs will have the opportunity to share with each other, and with parents and guests, the work they’ve done this year. The Summer program then begins on Monday, July 8.

To all those partners who have helped make this year a success so far, we say thank you. To all those students and peers who will be joining us this summer, we say welcome. In the meantime, if you want to check out all the great work PLI and BAHEC are doing, please plan to join us at the Student Showcase on May 22. The event will run from 4:00 to 6:00 at 35 Northampton Street. We hope to see you there.

Liam is director of Youth Development and Health Promotion at BPHC.