A PROJECT between the Baguio Center for Young Adults (BCYA), La Trinidad municipal government and Consuelo Foundations Philippines will be awarded as one of the 10 Best Practiced Youth programs in the region on July 15 at the Baguio Convention Center.

The project, entitled Bridging the Gap and Self-culture, tapped more than 7,000 youth volunteers in Barangay Balili, Lubas, Pico, Poblacion, Shilan and Tawang in La Trinidad, Benguet for the period of January 2008 and is still ongoing until the end of the year.

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It answered issues on lack of self-confidence and life skills and information on artificial reproductive health.

BCYA director Marlene de Castro said the project also ushered information to the youth the importance of the need to develop cultural appreciation and identity coupled with promotion of health-seeking behavior.

De Castro said strategic interventions with the youth like life skills approaches, capability building, medical outreach and cultural appreciation are needed in developing the youth of the region especially those coming from indigenous groups.

Among the interventions to the youth the BCYA started included Indigenous Leadership, Utilization of the Adolescent Reproductive Health Learning Manual, Project Development, Resource Generation and Mobilization, Ethnic/Indigenous Dance, Music, Theater Networking and Partnership Skills, Community Organizing and Mobilization and Employable Skills training sessions.

De Castro added among the results of their intervention included developed critical thinking, decision making, and problem solving to face life's challenges like unwanted pregnancies, involvement in fraternities and sexuality.

Moreover, the project established two barangay Youth Centers and five IEC corners. Most participants also valued personal health and developed health seeking behavior

Meanwhile, the program of BCYA also highlighted youth participation in community processes, pride in indigenous cultural identity, integrated activities in annual barangay development plans in seven partner barangays in La Trinidad.

Aside from the intended results of the agency they also mobilized Sangguniang Kabataan fund for their activities and inclusion of their projects in the plans of the municipal social welfare and development office including the winning of Pico barangay as a child-friendly barangay last year.

She added this also led to the plans of establishing a youth center for the municipality, teacher trainings, and more information and education campaigns to expose the youth on indigenous practices and foster their cultural appreciation.