Youth ambassador meeting 2015-640x438Through our involvement with the community, LPA recognized that cohorts of immigrant youth who adjusted successfully to life in the Philadelphia region were valuable resources in our efforts to engage more newly-arrived youth. 

Similar to the “promotora” model common in much of Latin America, LPA developed a pilot program called Compas de Viaje (“buddies on the journey”). The “Compas” is a group of immigrant youth who have committed themselves to develop peer mentorship skills, outreach to more newly arrived youth, all in the spirit of relationship and community building. The “Compas” peer mentors receive individual supervision from the clinical staff at LPA and intensive group training in skills like conscientious communication, relationship-building, and inter-personal safety and boundaries.

Services offered:

  • Monthly training for “Compas” peer mentors who are identified in the community or who express interest in committed participation in this initiative;
  • Outreach (by “Compas” mentor) to newcomer youth (ages 12-20) in the Philadelphia region who would benefit from peer support;
  • Monthly community events, organized by “Compas” peer mentors, inviting newcomer youth to planned activities providing a safe, welcoming, and healing social environment;
  • Individual counseling sessions, as requested, for youth participants referred through Compas de Viaje and/or schools;
  • Presentations developed and led by trained “Compas” mentors for educators, community groups, and other service venues relating to the experiences and needs of immigrant youth!

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Compas presents at Olney Aspira
Compas presents at Olney Aspira

Testimonial

La Puerta Abierta/The Open Door is a great organization that has helped a lot of kids like me. To me personally, La Puerta Abierta has been one of the main basis in my successful life as a student and has also helped me to overcome bad experiences that I have passed through by giving me their unconditional emotional, and mental support.I believe that La Puerta Abierta has made a big change in my life by helping me understand that as in this country are people who will judge us because of what they hear about us there are also people that understand our issues and have a good heart to help us. Emotional support means a lot to us when we are new in the country and I truly believe that their emotional support has helped me to feel comfortable in this country and live without fears.

I hope that this organization will never stop doing the great job they do and I will always be happy to support them in any way possible because they are people who made me think in a different way. Not only me, I am sure that there are more kids who are also happy and grateful that they have found a great organization as La Puerta Abierta/ The Open Door.

–Kevin Ipiña, High School senior and youth mentor with Compas de Viaje