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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Health in my community: conducting and evaluating PhotoVoice as a tool to promote environmental health and leadership among Latino/a youth.

  • Author(s): Madrigal, Daniel Santiago
  • Salvatore, Alicia
  • Casillas, Gardenia
  • Casillas, Crystal
  • Vera, Irene
  • Eskenazi, Brenda
  • Minkler, Meredith
  • et al.

The PhotoVoice method has shown substantial promise for work with youth in metropolitan areas, yet its potential for use with Latino youth from agricultural areas has not been well documented.This project was designed to teach environmental health to 15 high school youth while building their individual and community capacity for studying and addressing shared environmental concerns. The project also aimed to test the utility of PhotoVoice with Latino agricultural youth.Fifteen members of the Youth Community Council (YCC), part of a 15-year project with farmworker families in Salinas, CA, took part in a 12-week PhotoVoice project. Their pictures captured the assets and strengths of their community related to environmental health, and were then analyzed by participants. A multi-pronged evaluation was conducted.YCC members identified concerns such as poor access to affordable, healthy foods and lack of safe physical spaces in which to play, as well as assets, including caring adults and organizations, and open spaces in surrounding areas. Participants presented their findings on radio, television, at local community events, and to key policy makers. The youth also developed two action plans, a successful 5K run/walk and a school recycling project, still in progress. Evaluation results included significant changes in such areas as perceived ability to make presentations, leadership, and self-confidence, as well as challenges including transportation, group dynamics, and gaining access to people in power.The PhotoVoice method shows promise for environmental health education and youth development in farmworker communities.

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