Latoya Hall is a person who has taken her call of duty to the afterschool field and run with it. In her role as coordinator for the Teen Action program, she has been working tirelessly to promote teen development, taking her students out into the world to see and experience new things and bringing it all back to East Harlem where apply those discoveries to their own lives.
As a program that promotes civic engagement, life and critical thinking skills, supportive relationships, and a commitment to academic achievement and healthy behaviors, it covers a lot of ground. Over the last three years, Latoya has done an incredible job of exploring each of those aspects. Within the group, she encourages the youth to think for themselves in a variety of circumstances, whether it be in coming up with a new group project or resolving conflict between individuals. Outside the classroom, Latoya has been able to open participants’ eyes to just how much they can achieve.
Through the Teen Action program, youth select and complete a project that focuses on a particular issue in their community. In recent years, participants have chosen to focus on teen pregnancy and drug abuse. During the former, participants learned how to write, produce, edit and promote a short film on teen pregnancy and STDs through Latoya’s hard work and community outreach. The project culminated in a showing of the film at the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture. The latter also created a video, promoting a drug-free city. Again, through Latoya’s outreach, the youth were able to meet with Senator Bill Perkins to discuss drug policy in New York and also received an invitation to the 2nd Annual “Drug Free Heroes” Awards Ceremony hosted by the United Nations.
Through this program, Latoya has been taking her youth to new heights, emphatically showing them there are no such things as limits.