Today, I'm excited to recap some of the incredible collaborations that unfolded in 2023. Looking back on this year, the predominant focus of these projects revolved around educating and empowering youths.
One highlight was the design and implementation of a mental health pilot program for newly arrived refugee youths at Miry’s List. Spanning a year, this program encompassed diverse educational modules on mental health, tools for effective management, self-care activities, group discussions, and engaging projects. Witnessing over 90% of participating youths acknowledging the program's positive impact on their lives, mental well-being, and improved comprehension of mental health was immensely gratifying. Ensuring that the materials and activities were accessible and comprehensible for these new arrivals was pivotal in this pilot program.
Creating materials tailored to the understanding of new arrivals took me back to my own childhood. Growing up, I often translated information for my parents, aiding their navigation of life in the United States. This experience deeply influenced how I crafted the mental health curriculum for Miry’s List.
Another significant collaboration was with Kemok, a nonprofit in Guatemala dedicated to empowering indigenous girls. Angela, Kemok's founder, is not just a collaborator but also a dear friend. Our frequent exchanges on Whatsapp span both work-related discussions and personal anecdotes. Collaborating with Angela and her friend Jackie, an illustrator from Panama, resulted in the creation of three impactful books. One book provided crucial information about various sexually transmitted diseases, while another celebrated the rich diversity encompassing the world, animals, plants, and humans. This book aimed not only to bolster the confidence of indigenous individuals but also served as an educational tool, encouraging appreciation for life's diverse tapestry. The third book narrated the story of a determined girl striving to fulfill her dream of attending school despite daunting challenges.
Additionally, I had the privilege of collaborating with CAST (Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking), which brought my journey full circle. My initial encounter with CAST occurred in 2017 during a panel discussion for a film screening as part of the UN Say NO UNiTE campaign for USNC UN Women Los Angeles Chapter. Working closely with CAST shed light on the pervasive issue of trafficking, a significant human rights violation worldwide. Delving into CAST's work in Los Angeles offered profound insights into their historical journey and their impactful strides in combating this issue.
I express heartfelt gratitude to all those I collaborated with in 2023. I eagerly anticipate witnessing the continued growth and success of the organizations I had the privilege to work alongside.