APA office spotlight: Children, Youth, and Families Office participating in international collaborations
By Lauren Fasig, JD, PhD
I was recently invited to Mexico to present information to the Mexican Congress on the "Report of the APA Task Force on The Sexualization of Girls" (PDF, 804KB) on behalf of the APA Women’s Programs Office which works to improve the status, health and well-being of women. The presentation was part of the Congressional Forum, “Sexualizacion de las nina y adolescentes: amenaza real para su desarrollo.” The forum was sponsored by the Commission on the Rights of Children, in collaboration with AXIOS-Mision Mujer A.C., and APA. Members of the Mexican Congress and Francisco Gonzalez Garza, of A Favor de lo Mejor, spoke about the importance of this issue in Mexico. Beatrice Wendolyn Mendez, a 16 year-old who has participated in the AXIOS program, closed the forum with a passionate charge to the congress to address the issue of sexual images in the media. Discussions around the current reauthorization of the telecommunications act and proposals for new legislation addressing images in the media are continuing following the forum. The Woman’s Programs Office continues to work with the AXIOS program to translate tip sheets and other materials based on the task force report that was translated into Spanish.
Left: Mexican International Congressional Forum on the Sexualization of Girls and Adolescents. Right: Lauren G. Fasig Caldwell with Axios Program and members of the Mexican Department of Education.
While in Mexico, I also had the opportunity to travel to Guadalajara to speak with the AXIOS program and members of the Department of Education about working with at-risk teens and parental engagement with adolescents. The half-day workshop focused on effective strategies for preventing negative outcomes, and utilizing evidence-based programs designed to increase parental involvement and improve parent-child relationships. It was exciting to learn about the AXIOS initiatives in the middle schools, and to see the support within the education system for evidence-based interventions and activities designed to improve students’ mental health as part of the effort to improve educational outcomes. The Children, Youth and Families Office will continue to work with AXIOS to develop plans for integrating prevention and intervention strategies in the schools, and for expanding the message to other localities.
Although it was a whirlwind experience, I returned home invigorated to continue our work, with new ideas about the ways in which we can mobilize psychological knowledge for action to benefit children, youth and families. I met wonderful people and had wonderful experiences on my trip, and look forward to the next opportunity to return to Mexico.