In December, 2017, our FACES for the Future Hayward students had the amazing opportunity to attend an overnight retreat in San Francisco. The goal of the retreat, offered in partnership with St. Rose Hospital Foundation, Vesper Society, San Francisco State University and Vision Quilt, was to educate students about public health issues and to develop their skills as advocates for their own communities – and have some fun in the process.
Students began their retreat by participating in a Ropes Course at Fort Miley. They cheered each other on, spot-checked their peers, and faced their fear of heights. Many commented, “I did way more than I expected myself to do!”
Afterwards, students arrived at San Francisco State University, where they were welcomed by Dr. Leticia Marquez-Magana, Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology, and Director of the Health Equity Research Laboratory. Students were introduced to the field of Public Health, activating their thinking around the reality of health disparities and social determinants of health. The students continued this dialogue by working with AAMPLIFY, and completed a power-mapping exercise to understand their abilities to influence the decisions made at their own schools.
Activities resumed on Sunday at SFSU after an evening of fun and holiday sightseeing at Union Square in downtown San Francisco. Students gained familiarity with the college campus and had an opportunity to participate in a flash mentoring session with SFSU undergraduate students pursuing various health professions.
The retreat ended with a presentation by Vision Quilt, an organization dedicated to using art advocacy to prevent gun violence. FACES students created individual quilt panels based on their own experiences with gun violence. This was an especially powerful workshop for students, and for many, the first time they opened up about their experiences.
Overall, the retreat was a great success – FACES students left feeling empowered, inspired, and capable of sparking change in their communities. FACES for the Future Coalition is grateful to all our partners that made this retreat possible.