In September 2018, a large group of mothers participated in the Youth Development Institute’s Advocacy and Community Mobilization Project at the Boys and Girls Clubs (BGCPR) in Aguas Buenas and the Luis Llorens Torres and Las Margaritas Public Housing Projects. They were able to take a deep and detailed look at the social and economic reality their community experiences through a reflective exercise focused on a statistics presentation. The strategy is part of the IDJ’s mission to empower families, so they have access to data and the tools that will help them advocate for causes they believe will improve their communities.
The exercise gave these mothers access to data specific to their community in the areas of Health, Family, Youth, Employment and Security. Throughout the process, interesting observations and concerns were shared; they were then clarified and explained by the event’s moderators: Estela Reyes, Leader for Advocacy and Community Mobilization, and Caridad Arroyo, Statistics Manager for the IDJ.
One of the most interesting moments was part of the conversation that followed the data presentation, when mothers shared their reactions to what was reflected in the statistics. “I believe it is completely unfair that women earn less than men, when they have more responsibilities. That is discrimination,” said Yamilka Sierra, a mother participating in the BGCPR from the Luis Llorens Torres Public Housing Project. Lineydis Flores, another mother who took part in the exercise, added that “there is more discrimination towards women when they’re offered work; they must work schedules that conflict with childcare, and even worse, they are paid less.”
On the other hand, Naomi Correa shared her concern regarding some employers’ requests for experience when hiring young people for better paying positions and their unwillingness to accept student practicums as work experience. “Nearly half of young people do not have any economic and emotional support to go to college. This makes it more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as undesired pregnancies and criminal behavior,” she said
Facing this reality, the group of mothers stated their interest in advocating for educational programs for both young people and parents. “Education and prevention are essential in order to avoid undesired pregnancies. We need to develop programs that address teenagers’ needs, if we truly want to improve our community,” said Correa.
The comments made by this group of mothers validate the most recent statistics from the KIDS COUNT® Data Book 2018, which states that 13% of young people are not in school and do not work. For more information, please visit www.juventudpr.org, our page at www.facebook.com/idj.pr or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.