Check Yourself Youth Team

Luz Southside Partnership –> Check Yourself Youth Team

Check Yourself Youth Team

Contact: Jeanette Apaez, Outreach Specialist
E-mail: [email protected]

Luz Southside Partnership
3819 South Evans, Suite 304
Tucson, AZ 85714
(520) 294-7620
(520) 294-1142 fax

Introduction: According to the Office of National AIDS Policy, young Americans between the ages of 13-24 are contracting HIV at a rate of 2 per hour. In addition, alcohol and substance abuse continue to escalate among young people. In order to respond to this increasing trend, Luz Social Services, Inc., Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation, and Tucson Urban League collaborated to create the Check Yourself Youth Team in 1999 to target Tucson youth.

Pogram Summary: The primary purpose of the Check Yourself Youth Team (CYYT) is to reduce the level of substance abuse among Latino and African American youth ages 12-15 and to reduce behaviors that place these youth at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS. During the first three years of the project, CYYT worked with two local charter schools- Guerrero Middle School and Tucson Urban League Academy. With Funding from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, CYYT enhanced its capacity by extending service to Howenstine High Magnet School and Mansfeld Middle School of the Tucson Unified School District.

The project conducts six-week training sessions at all four schools. At the end of the training, CYYT engages students in a three-day retreat for a more intense, hands-on learning experience. The project trains youth to become peer educators who graduate from the training as “Popular Opinion Leaders” (POLs). The youth make commitments to defuse HIV and Substance Abuse prevention messages to their peers and families. To date, CYYT has graduated more than 90 POLs who have had more than 2000 prevention conversations.

CYYT is a collaborative effort by Luz Social Services, Inc., Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (, Tucson Urban League (, and Pima Prevention Partnership ( Through this collaborative effort, CYYT seeks to increase the capacity of local agencies to respond to a need for integrated HIV and Substance Abuse prevention programs. The process and outcomes of this project will provide the field of prevention with valuable new information regarding the efficacy of this innovative approach.