Jaena Sigue is an intern for the health committee of the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center.
The committee developed a social determinants of health (SDH) training that engages community residents to identify the root causes of poor health, analyze the assets in the community and develop a strategy that builds on the strengths to address the immediate problems and systemic causes.
As an intern, the MMFYC trained Jaena to provide the SDH training in a collaborative way with Bronx neighborhood leaders and asked her to provide critical feedback that led to improvements to the training model. Their joint work has lead to priorities and strategies that address the SDH in two Bronx communities.
At this point Jaena is experienced in developing and implementing a community-led solution to public problems. She is part of a collaborative team that provides the SDH training, evaluates and improves it. She shares with the team a deep interest in public health and understanding of low-income communities of color. And, her balance of critical analysis and social acumen make her participation valuable for both the team and the two communities they engage.
I began participating in a variety of community service when I was fourteen through a local youth organization and my high school. When I entered college, I planned to continue my volunteer work so I joined an organization called the Lasallian Outreach Collaborative and began tutoring children at an after school program. For a service-learning religion class I took entitled, Urban American and Catholic Social Teaching, I chose to volunteer 25 hours for the semester with a soup kitchen called Part of the Solution. Through the recommendation of the professor teaching my service-learning course, I was referred to an internship for a Bronx based non-profit organization called the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center. When I joined, they were collaborating with the NorthWest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition on developing a curriculum surrounding the social factors that can impact health. After working on the curriculum and hosting a community forum to present the information, I joined the Health Justice Committee of the NWBCCC. Currently, the committee is responsible for creating an initiative that will deter violence. Our plan is to increase youth employment through an external program called YouthBuild and to increase community accountability when violent acts take place.