Youth Advisory Program

The Youth Advisory Program mentors and trains urban high school students to become peer leaders at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). After receiving comprehensive leadership training, the peers also function as health ambassadors in their schools and in their communities. Males and females ages 16-18 are recruited from Boston high schools and are hired based on their leadership experience or leadership potential. They work 4-6 hours a week and write blog posts for our blog, TeenSpeak, and articles for our quarterly newsletter. Additionally our peer leaders host health information tables at the Adolescent Medicine and Young Adult out-patient clinic at BCH and participate in health fairs in Boston communities. Unique to BCH, our peer leaders serve on the hospital’s Teen Advisory Committee (TAC) advocating for teen patients and under the supervision of Adolescent Medicine specialists, they also train pediatric doctors on how to effectively communicate with teens.

Training

Our peer leaders receive an exceptional leadership training which includes workshops on writing and presentation skills, critical thinking, goal setting, group facilitation, nutrition, and safe zone training as well as specialized workshops on various medical and sexual health conditions.

Our Blog: TeenSpeak

The BCH peer leaders are encouraged to write about topics that interest them and that are relevant to other teens and young adults, such as:

  • Dealing With Your Mom’s Boyfriend
  • Health Insurance 101
  • Our Culture’s Latest Obsession
  • Tips for Preparing for Final Exams
  • Uncovering Acne
  • Leaving Fast Food Behind

Teen Advisory Committee

Youth Advisors serve on the hospital’s Teen Advisory Committee (TAC). TAC represents and provides a voice to adolescents and young adults receiving care at the hospital. During monthly meetings the teens work on projects and provide feedback on hospital initiatives.

Other Responsibilities

Aside from writing blogs and newsletter articles, our peer leaders attend TAC monthly meetings and assist our clinical staff in a variety of ways. At times, peer leaders may be asked to:

  • Review resources, health guides and other educational materials to make sure they are teen friendly
  • Provide feedback to clinical researchers at BCH
  • Prepare resource packets and other materials for the adolescent medicine and gynecology clinics
  • Help adolescent patients, parents, and visitors locate health resources in the Boston Children’s Hospital League’s Resource Center
  • Participate in our yearly conferences for teens and their families

How to apply

You are eligible to be a peer leader if you are at least 16 years old and a freshman, sophomore, or junior in high school. If you are interested in applying, please email Kaytlyn Darling at kaytlyn.darling@childrens.harvard.edu for more information.