Project: My Puksta Project has evolved from the more general desire to address mental health within African Communities to utilizing youth community engagement to bring awareness to mental health. Furthermore, I intend to use an artistic lens to discuss the topic of mental health by using it as a tool and mechanism for the youth within these African communities to better understand their needs and hopefully find a more meaningful way of meeting them. I hope to achieve this by first designing workshops that allow the members of these communities (with a particular focus on youth) to learn more about mental health as well as how to use art as an expressive outlet. My passion for art has intertwined with my passion for mental health and I hope to unite the two as one to offer my community and other African communities a new perspective on mental health and the power of art as an act of self-care and even self-discovery.
Inspiration: After having lost a friend and member of my community to suicide, I realized that the entire situation seemed almost foreign to a number of my friends and family. I want to create awareness within the African community of the reality and the seriousness of mental health as well as the services available that aid in preventing suicide.
Future Plans for Project: I would like to see more African communities open to conversation about mental health and utilizing the services provided that address it.
“I am the first daughter in my family to attend college and a first generation student born in the U.S. My parents emigrated from Jakarta, Indonesia to California in hopes of building a better future for our family. My parents do not have a college degree. They hold our Batak culture traditional values close to their heart even after leaving their country. My mother wanted me to become a Registered Nurse (RN) but I chose to follow my aspirations on majoring in Public Health and Ethnic Studies.The Social Justice project I would be interested in working on is the beauty standards in Asian American and Pacific Islanders women focusing on representation and body positivity in the media how it affects women negatively, like myself, and how it impacts their life for example their mental health.”
Project: My Puksta project focuses on creating accurate sex education for Latina and African American high school girls as well as helping them learn about reproductive resources. This year in Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority Inc., I helped with our Women of Tomorrow Conference by creating a pamphlet on sex education for girls to keep and take home. I also helped my sister on her sex education class and explained my pamphlet there! It had information on consent, birth control, STI’s and contacts. This is something that will carry on with our conference that is held every year!
Inspiration: After reading the graphic novel, “Waiting for Health Equity” by the Center for Health Progress, I was inspired by the following fact that stood out: ‚”Black and Latina teens are over twice as likely as white teens to become pregnant. This is due to the fact that non-white teens are less likely to have access to reproductive health resources and receive accurate sex education” (Center for Health Progress, 38).
Future Plans: Understanding the barriers to sexual health education can help inform development of a pilot program to reduce teen pregnancy rates among women of color.
Project: My Puksta Project for the upcoming academic year will focus on enhancing the relationships between healthcare professionals and immigrants.
Inspiration: My family has greatly inspired me to choose my Puksta Project. I have been to countless appointments and first-hand seen the challenges of individuals whom deserve greater health care.
Future Plans for Project: I hope that everyone will move in the positive direction toward equal access to health care.
Project: To host 4 dinner/evening events for the Elyria district at Colorado Miners Community Center to improve nutrition of the families residing in this vulnerable area.
Inspiration: I have a deep passion about working with those who are homeless or living in poverty and the behaviors/symptoms that have brought them to this point. I personally can relate to these situations and desire to pay it forward.
Future Plans for Project: To increase physical activity and academics in this community.
Project: I am conducting research on the various mental health policies that effect incarcerated people and ways to reform policy. Prison environments promote unhealthy behavior and recidivism rates that affect all communities. I hope to promote mental health awareness and provide incarcerated people with more opportunities to improve their livelihoods.
Inspiration: I want to debunk the many myths people have about mental illness and address the reasons why it is a serious topic that society needs to inform people about.
Future Plans for Project: Provide an outlet for people with mental illnesses to have a voice and advocate for themselves without fear of receiving judgment from others, but to also make mental health a more talked about topic by those who don’t experience the struggles that those with mental health issues face everyday.
Project: I created Healthy Kids in Action because I wanted to provided a free exercise program for the kids in my community. I have a passion for exercise-which was straightened after I overcame an eating disorder, and I want to make sure kids learn how to exercise properly. Growing up my parents could not afford exercise programs for me and my summers were spent at home. With Healthy Kid in Action, I hope to get kids active during the summer, so they can not only exercise, and also gain social and leadership skills. I have developed an 8-week summer program that helps low-income students develop their leadership skills through fitness
Updates: This summer my program was not able to continue due to the pandemic. My next endeavor is to write a handbook so that other students can learn best practices and lead their own program.
Inspiration: I created Healthy Kids in Action because I wanted to provided a free exercise program for the kids in my community. I have a passion for exercise-which was straightened after I overcame an eating disorder, and I wanted to make sure kids learned how to exercise properly. Growing up my parents could not afford exercise programs for me and my summers were spent at home.
Check out his video and why he is pursuing his Puksta Project https://youtu.be/UtU7KoBG8gQ
Future Plans for Project: With Healthy Kid in Action, I hope to get kids active during the summer so they can not only exercise but also gain social and leadership skills.
What are you up to now?
She is planning on pursuing her Masters in Social Work in the near future.
I recently wrapped up the first year of my graduate program at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus where I am pursuing a M.P.H. with a concentration in Global Health Systems Management and Policy. This summer I was contracted by the Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials where I will be doing policy research analysis to assist local public health agencies with their efforts in implementing Health in All Policies. I will also be applying to medical school to further my training for my quest for health equity.
William’s Linkedin Profile