The Novato Promotores Program is a volunteer program that trains and engages natural community leaders who are trusted and embedded in the existing community infrastructure. It is a powerful way to bridge the English- and Spanish-speaking communities. Promotores serve as connectors between the often monolingual community of which they are a part, to health services and community engagement. While each community and organization shapes the Promotor(a) model to fit their own specific needs and strengths, Promotores in Novato have identified the issue of underage drinking and other drug use as their primary concern.
There are two focuses that the Novato Promotores support: helping to reduce youth alcohol use; and addressing the mental health needs of un/underserved communities. By connecting, training and supporting Promotores to engage in community mobilization, they use environmental prevention strategies, policy change and parent engagement strategies to reduce youth alcohol use. Promotores work very closely with the Healthy Novato Project and the Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition for Youth to:
- Build on the leadership skills already developed by Promotores so that they may effectively engage in advocacy work
- Work with rental establishments on how to improve contracts, policies and practices to reduce youth drinking at celebrations
- Host cafecitos (coffees in promotores’ home) with parents to discuss underage drinking, social host laws, and action they can take to reduce/prevent youth drinking
To address the behavioral health needs of un/underserved communities and to increase access to substance use services for Spanish-speaking women, the PEI Promotores Project increases the capacity of promotores (community health advocates) by:
- Providing emotional support to Latinos
- Connect people to resources and referrals