IMPACT

Oct. 20, 2021

MCD Public Health Develops Online Trainings for OUT Maine’s Professional Development for Youth-Serving Practitioners


Rosi and Zia Amador as avatars and the OUT Maine website on a laptop screen.
To guide learners through the modules, MCDPH's e-learning team created two avatars inspired by a mother and son team, Rosi and Zia Amador. The Amadors provide the voiceover for the modules.

MCD Public Health (MCDPH) is working with OUT Maine, a statewide nonprofit working to make communities more welcoming, affirming, and inclusive for Maine’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, or questioning (LGBTQ+) youth.The collaboration is converting several of OUT Maine’s in-person trainings to online, interactive, self-paced versions with the goal of expanding the reach to youth-serving professionals in Maine and beyond.


The newly developed training is a six-module series titled, “The Basics for Building Welcoming and Inclusive Communities for LGBTQ+ Youth.” The modules, take around a total of three hours to complete and cover important topics including:

  • OUT Maine's work and model.
  • Healthy adolescent development.
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their impact on LGBTQ+ youth.
  • Importance of language, terminology, name, and pronoun usage.
  • Risk and protective factors for LGBTQ+ youth.
  • Best practices for creating inclusive LGBTQ+ youth programming.
  • Strategies to support Maine’s diverse queer youth.


Marissa White, a program assistant at MCDPH, said, “There is a great need for LGBTQ+ training, especially as it pertains to youth since they are our future and deserve to thrive in a safe, welcoming, and affirming environment. These self-paced training modules provide professionals with the basic knowledge, skills, tools, and resources to successfully serve LGTBQ+ youth in all of their intersectional identities.”


To guide learners through the modules, MCDPH's e-learning team created two avatars inspired by a mother and son team, Rosi and Zia Amador. The Amadors provide the voiceover for the modules. Avatar Rosi acts as the training narrator who teaches a majority of the educational content; Zia acts as the training guide in the modules where he introduces key topics, guides users through their learning journey, and shares his own past experiences as a transgender youth throughout the training.


For a glimpse of Rosi’s and Zia’s avatars, as well as their backgrounds, view the following training introduction video:


This first training series is intended for anyone who works with youth and is available for $59 at MaineQueerSpace.org. MCDPH will produce three additional online training series for OUT Maine, tailored specifically for educators, behavioral/mental-health professionals, and medical professionals.


According to the Maine Centers for Disease Control, nearly 20% of all Maine teens identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning of their sexual orientation or gender identity (LGBTQ+). That percentage is even higher among teens in foster care (40%).


“LGBTQ+ youth face numerous challenges, including risks of homelessness and suicide, compounded by economic, racial, and other oppressions. Because of Maine’s rural character, these queer youth often lack the social support, positive queer role models, and inclusive policies and programs they need to succeed,” said Jeanne Dooley, executive director at OUT Maine. “We chose to partner with MCDPH because of their commitment to improving people's health and well-being. We are excited that these modules will give youth-serving professionals the knowledge and tools to provide affirmation and support in their professional engagements with queer youth.”


View MCD’s other e-learning platforms at gettac.mcd.org.



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