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Youth Spotlight: Jenn Then

Jennifer Then is a Sociedad Latina signature youth – passionate, committed and positive. At the age of 5, Jennifer was already a member of the Sociedad Latina family, accompanying her mother to community organizing meetings. As a high school student, she continued her mother’s legacy in civic engagement as a Health Educator (HE). Early in her HE career, Jenn was a core leader in Sociedad Latina’s anti-tobacco campaign. Building on the success of earlier campaign work, Jennifer and her peers prepared presentations and tours for city officials to encourage them to enforce a city wide ordinance limiting storefront tobacco advertisements. She also facilitated healthy living “boot camps” for more than 200 youth each year. Jennifer often took the creative lead on health activities in order to effectively engage youth, including the introduction of hip hop to exercise classes.

Beyond her community work, Jennifer is a well-rounded student who has taken risks to reach her academic goals. As a freshman, she applied for and was accepted to the highly competitive Mathematics and Science for Minority Students Program at Phillips Academy. For three summers, Jennifer participated in the rigorous intellectual program with great success and was cited by the Director of the Program as a wonderful participant. Jennifer maintained a high GPA throughout high school and was a member of the National Honor Society.

When asked to reflect on her experience, Jenn says “Sociedad Latina has shaped the leader and social butterfly that I am today. I have learned not only to take initiative in my learning, but to make choices that will positively affect me and others. I can speak from experience when I say that there are incredible people at Sociedad that have helped me get through high school, and have encouraged and supported me through the college process.” Jenn is a proud representative of Boston’s young Latino community and has a steadfast commitment to driving community change. She is currently a sophomore at the University of Massachusetts Boston and plans to earn her degree in Early Childhood Education.