The central focus of all LPA’s youth services is the creation of therapeutic space that is healing and safe and encourages healthy relationship and community-building. We strive to create spaces where young people, impacted by the challenges of immigration in their lives, come together and create a supportive and therapeutic community. Individual and group counseling focuses on enhancing emotional grounding in the face of uncertainties commonly shared by immigrants struggling with legal, social and language challenges in their family and peer relationships. Groups are developed with the premise that our ability to build and maintain healthy lives for ourselves and for our communities relies, in part, on the ability to access strength and resource within ourselves. Youth share their experiences, support and practical means of working through the emotional challenges of being undocumented and/or living with other undocumented family members as well as the complicated and often painful stories of migrating to a new community and the families/relationships left behind.
The exchange is implemented through group counseling practices, team-building and creative arts exercises, a peer mentorship structure and other activities that build and sustain trust While the curriculum, activities and discussion topics are developed around the needs and experiences of the youth involved, some or all of the following topics are included: fear of deportation, isolation and loss of deported family members, internalizing family struggles of immigration, responsibility in the family, sibling relationships, challenges related to continuing education. As they go through their own healing process, youth are supported and trained in developing the skills necessary to aid other young people in living healthy lives. In this way the program not only strengthens the individual participants, but also becomes a resource to others in the surrounding community.
The group creates space for confidential and trusting communication while also connecting participants with outside organizations that teach advocacy skills in the larger community arena. In this manner, participants are able to learn a large range of healthy and hopeful problem-solving strategies to manage the challenges that they face.
Compas de Viaje: Youth-led school and community-based mentoring Project