May 4, 2022 — Oakland, CA — Young people are fighting for health equity in their communities, and they deserve to be celebrated— was the resounding message at this year’s Coast to Coast: Amplifying Youth Voice celebration, Peer Health Exchange’s annual benefit. The event, held May 4, brought together nearly 200 philanthropic, education, and youth advocate leaders supporting the organization's work to advance health equity and improve health outcomes for young people across the country.
Held virtually, the event featured young people from Peer Health Exchange’s Youth Design Group, Youth Advisory Board and Youth Brand Ambassadors and highlights from college-aged Health Educator Fellows, Peer Health Navigators, and Content Creators.
As an organization that strives to be a proactive force for health equity, Peer Health Exchange prioritizes serving and focusing on the needs of low-income young people of color and LGBTQ+ young people. Across partner school districts, 77% of students live in low-income communities, 52% of students identify as Latinx and 33% as Black. For their health app selfsea, to date, nearly half of app users identify as LGBTQ+. Over 54% identify as BIPOC and over half are in the 13-15 age range, with the remainder mostly under 24 years of age.
Attendees heard first-hand from 13 – 24 year olds about the importance of having access to inclusive resources and the sense of community they feel by having a voice at the table. “As a young person, Peer Health Exchange has helped empower me,” said Brandon Nguyen, Peer Health Exchange Youth Engagement Advisor. “It provided me with the opportunity to grow and learn through their health curriculum and working on the Youth Advisory Board.”
More than 1 in 3 high school students have experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness even before the pandemic. Peer Health Exchange's curriculum spans over the course of 14 workshops, which equip students with the knowledge, skills and resources to make healthy decisions about substance use, sexual health and mental health. Peer Health Exchange also reaches young people directly through a web-based and stand-alone app, selfsea, providing a safe and validating environment to access resources and connect with near-peers on critical health topics.
“This year’s Coast to Coast is an ode to the young people we work alongside to advance health equity," said Peer Health Exchange Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Louise Langheier. “Amplifying young people’s voices is at the center of everything we do at Peer Health Exchange. Like you, we are committed to building healthier communities with young people. In a world where young people constantly navigate difficult decisions about
Building healthy communities with young people their health, we focus on creating opportunities for peers to share the tools and resources they need to make
healthy decisions." Over the last decade, Peer Health Exchange has grown to provide their trauma-informed, skills-building health curriculum across the country while developing a culture of preventative health and wellness. The organization has worked with more than 200,000 young people to build healthier communities virtually and in school settings.
Peer Health Exchange is grateful for funding support from: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois CIBC, Tito's Handmade Vodka, Eastern Bank, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, U.S. Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Ashley Capital, Armanino LLP, First Republic Bank, Perkins Coie LLP, Dr. Jamie Murray, Lori Roth and David Schnadig, Amy and Andy Bluhm, Nancy Settergren and Avgoustis Ramoundos, Frank Williams, The Davis Family, Wendy and Douglas Eisenberg,Todd Kaplan, Suzann Cohen, Schuyler and Jared Heuer, Rachel Kropa, Bill Suenkens, Jill and Evan Seigerman, Carol Zatorski, Leslie Roach, Karen Herskovitz, Sasha Simon, Beth and David Rothenberg, Caryn Cohen, Carolyn Belfer, Benjamin Wolff, Courtney Garcia, Lisa Margosian, Tiara Muse, Margot Phillips, Meredith Milton, Jane Saunders, Hope Winter, Kimberly and Michael Greenbaum, Nicholas and Karina Petrella, Elizabeth DeMatteis, and Madline Kerner
Peer Health Exchange also extends a special thank you to its host committee: Dr. Jamie Murray, Nancy Settergren, Margot Phillips, Heather Hernandez, Kelley Hippler, Jess Jacobs, Pam Jones, Todd Kaplan, Janet Nahirny, Jill Siegerman, Tata Traore-Rogers, Frank Williams, Gina Yianopolous, and Sasha Simon
About Peer Health Exchange
Peer Health Exchange’s mission is to build healthier communities with young people. Together, we create education opportunities for peers to share the tools and resources young people need to make healthy decisions. To learn more about Peer Health Exchange, visit www.peerhealthexchange.org, and to learn about our new app selfsea, visit www.selfsea.org.