This week, we’ll be sharing with you another one of YOTO’s newest staff members: Diego! Diego is one of four Program Coordinators who work one-on-one with the students enrolled in Youth On Their Own. Learn a little more about Diego and how his background in Public Health has expanded our program services for students.

“I am originally from Nogales, Arizona – a border town next to Sonora, Mexico – but have been a Tucsonan for 11 years now. I graduated from Cholla High School in 2012 and from the University of Arizona in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health. Initially, I was a pre-pharmacy major. I always wanted to help out people and thought that pharmacy was my path, but when that major was discontinued at the UofA I had to pick another route. I enjoyed studying public health more than pharmacy and ultimately enrolled in a Study Abroad Program in Cuernavana, Morelos, Mexico. There I learned about the need in social work and for advocating for the less fortunate. When I returned from studying abroad, I knew that I wanted to stay in the Public Health field to help others.

As an AmeriCorps State Member at Youth On Their Own in 2016-2017, I focused on connecting students to AHCCCS, obtaining their important documents, and teaching them good nutritional habits. It is important for our youth to have health insurance and know how to navigate the system because of their situation. They need to know how to take care of themselves, but they first need the tools in order to do so. I also worked on creating a pamphlet with steps on how to obtain important documents such as their birth certificate, social security card, and State ID. Lastly, I developed a Nutrition Workshop that taught students how to eat healthy on a budget.

Now, my favorite part about being a Program Coordinator for YOTO is the responsibility that comes with it. The responsibility of this role makes me feel valued, makes me want to come to work every day, and makes me want to become the best Program Coordinator that I can be for our students.”

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