The Youth Advocates (YA) is a positive youth development program that empowers Brownsville, Dallas, and San Antonio high school students to take civic action and become leaders of the adolescent health movement. With near-peer guidance from our four Team Leads, YA members advocate on local and state levels on topics such as access to evidence-based sex education and teen-friendly preventative healthcare. 


YA members are compensated hourly and can make up to $700 a year.


Applications are now open! Click below to apply.


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take a sneak peek at our amazing program

Meeting Times & Locations


The YA program runs from August to May. Each cohort holds meetings every other week, from 6 – 8 pm. While in-person attendance is strongly encouraged, we have a hybrid attendance option for special circumstances. 

Current cohort meeting times are: 

  • San Antonio: Every other Monday at the Healthy Futures office, 6 – 8 PM
  • Dallas: Every other Tuesday at the Dallas office, 6 – 8 PM
  • Brownsville: Every other Thursday at the Brownsville UT-RGV Library, 6 – 8 PM

Additionally, we have several other in person events, including an advocacy day at the Texas Capitol, typically held on a weekday in February, and a sex education class held on a Saturday prior to the start of the school year. 

Each YA member participates in a virtual check-in with a member of the YA leadership team quarterly. 

Youth also have the opportunity to participate in optional community-wide coalitions and plan local events.

Program Requirements 


  • Be enrolled in high school, a GED program, a technical school, or homeschool grades 9-12 for the 2024-2025 school year 
  • Complete the YA application
  • Turn in the parent/guardian permission slip 
  • Complete an interview
  • Be willing and able to commit to at least 80% of the general in-person meetings (with hybrid options for special circumstances). Meetings are held in the evenings twice a month from August to May, totaling 10 meetings per semester. 
Program Application Process 


  • Fill out google form application
  • Receive text from YA leadership to schedule a virtual interview
  • Have interview
  • Receive notification of whether the application is accepted, declined, or waitlisted
  • Have parents/guardians sign consent form
  • Complete youth membership contract
Ready to apply? Follow the link below.


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Jen, Senior Director of Policy and Research

Hi, I’m Jen. I live in Austin and lead our work at the Capitol to support healthy teens. I have a background in public policy, public health, and education, but especially love working with young people to help them become the next generation of leaders. I’m a proud mother of two boys, including a high schooler who kind of wishes his mom had a normal job that didn’t involve sex education. 

Sophia, Program Manager

Hi, I am Sophia (she/her)! I am a proud San Antonio native, UTSA Public Health graduate, and dedicated advocate. I have been working with the YA group for 3 years and it has been a transformational experience. I love being a part of this program because it not only gives youth the information they need to make healthy, informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health, but it also gives them the tools they need to make a long-term change for their community.

Alayjah, Dallas Health Educator II

Hello, I’m Alayjah! I have a passion for improving the overall health of youth and believe that begins with advocacy and access to education. I live in Dallas and grew up in Massachusetts– where I received my undergraduate degree in Public Health Sciences. Working with the Youth Advocates program truly shows me the greatness and loads of possibilities there are in making change within sexual and reproductive health policy. I am happy to be a part of the Youth Advocates Team!

Juanita, Brownsville Health Educator II

Hi, I’m Juanita (she/ella), a Gen Z (not really, but I like to pretend I am) educator in the RGV. I’m passionate about working with young people and informing my community about sexual health and consent. I love being part of Youth Advocates to advance the reproductive health of ALL Texas youth! 

Kennia, Brownsville Team Lead 

Hi, I’m Kennia (she/her). I am currently a Senior at UTRGV pursuing a Bachelor’s Concentration in Bilingual Elementary Education because I have a passion for educating our youth! I am soon to complete my first year with the YA team and I am happy to report, I love it! I have loved learning about sexual health and policies and educating youth, so being able to do both at the same time is a dream job come true. I hope to aid in the goal of providing youth evidence-based sexual education to help them make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. 

Arial, San Antonio Team Lead 

Hi! I’m Arial (they/she), born and raised in Houston, Texas. I am an incoming senior at Trinity University majoring in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. After graduation, I plan to spend a few years conducting research before pursuing a PhD in clinical psychology. I am passionate about sexual assault awareness and prevention, and dedicated to helping marginalized populations through advocacy work. Being a part of the Youth Advocates allows me to actively contribute to meaningful change and support individuals within our community. I have gained valuable experience in advocacy and have been able to surround myself with like-minded peers and mentors who not only share my values but are also dedicated to improving public health.

YA is a supportive group where I have been taught the skills to make a difference in my school, city, and state. – Morgan E, YA Member

I applied to be a part of YA to learn more about STIs and how to keep myself and my friends safe from them. I wanted to take control of my health.Gabriel U, YA Member

My dream is to fight for the rights of the people in my community, but I’ve never had the resources to do it. YA gives me a platform to advocate for issues that mean the world to me. – Daniya V, YA Member

This program helped me understand how important sexual health education is and taught me how to enact change within my community. – Nevaeh S, YA member

I love being a YA member because it gives me a community of people who share my passion to advocate for better access to quality sex education. – Marcela H, YA Member

Youth Advocates has given me a safe and reliable place to go to for information and helped me learn how to effectively create change in my community. -Heaven S, YA member

My most memorable moment in YA, one of many, was RGV TeenFest! This event was a chance to interact in person with our community’s youth and our community’s organizations that have the same goal as ours. Not only could I educate the youth but also learn from other stands such as Friendship of Women. A major take-away from YA is the relationships made with our Health Educator, Juanita, our team leads Kennia and Pam, and all of our youth members. I have found a community here that makes me feel more at home and comfortable than any other time in my life. I keep these relationships in my heart and try my best to provide this home for others. – Anika B, YA member

My most memorable moment in YA was being in Austin, the capital, and seeing all the history on the walls, floor, and ceilings. Also being with so many different people that understood my ideas was absolutely amazing. One major takeaway from YA is all the relationships I’ve made and all the new knowledge I’ve acquired. – Julianna B, YA member

The most memorable time was Austin and the RGV fest. I learned a lot more about protection and safety. – Elisa G, YA Member

My most memorable moment in YA was when we did our PowerPoint in the beginning of the semester. This is because we got to learn more of others and what they’re strongly passionate about. This helped us figure out what kind of person each one of us was. My biggest takeaway was learning about Title X clinics. – Edgar , YA Member


For questions about the Youth Advocates program please contact Sophia Montemayor at


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