In 2011, the Asian Health Coalition and Project: VISION created an opportunity for youth empowerment known as the Teen Advisory Panel (TAP). This panel meets in the fall and spring to study substance abuse issues. TAP is an initiative to give youth a voice in the Chinatown community while developing important life skills. Active youth involvement is essential in the healthy transformation of communities, due to youth’s unique insights into cultural factors among peers and adults. Youth advocates become the leaders of the next generation.
The opportunities TAP offers to students are endless, exciting, and rewarding. Youth gain invaluable leadership, communication, and organizational skills that they can use throughout their lives. These include:
- Leadership training, social development, and problem solving skills
- Experience with multimedia technology to create audiovisual, print, and online materials
- Opportunities for artistic self expression, such as creative writing and painting
TAP members go through an experiential learning process where they work together to tackle the issues affecting Chinatown. Not only do youth gain invaluable skills, they also gain service learning hours that they can use to fulfill their high school requirements and request letters of recommendations. This combination of skill building, real world experience, and networking helps members of TAP to become more competitive for college and prospective jobs opportunities. Through TAP, youth can truly learn how to utilize their creativity and knowledge to lead important projects, while experiencing the work and beauty of making a positive difference in the community around them.