By Stan Martin
Fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, friends ... June is dedicated to the important men in our lives as we encourage and support them on the road to a healthier life.
Beginning with Men’s Health Week, running through June 17, we focus on health issues that affect men disproportionately, and reinforce the need to become more aware of problems they may already have or could develop. This awareness needs to begin with our youth so that they develop habits early in their lives that make their health a priority.
Father’s Day reminds us of the responsibility that comes with parenting – how special it is and what it means to guide our children to reach their full potential and grow into the adults they want to be. HOPE Buffalo works with adolescent boys and girls to mentor and educate them on making informed decisions about their health – and fathers and male caring adults are a critical link in this information system.
June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, when HOPE Buffalo unites with our partner organizations and health departments to reinforce and raise awareness of the need for HIV testing and early diagnosis for successful treatment, a critical step for men and women as we work to manage and eradicate the disease.
To better equip young individuals within the community to be healthier, it is important to provide them with the resources they need to get there. That is why HOPE Buffalo has created the easily accessible comprehensive referral guide and linkage system to health care agencies-providers in the Buffalo community that youth can access for their sexual and reproductive health care.
These providers were chosen as being youth friendly, inclusive of LGBTQ youth needs, safe and secure, all of which are essential to teens when discussing their health.
This resource is both downloadable at hopebuffalo.org and available for shipment to your agency. Such tools provide access to health care that enable youth to live healthy lives with the help of providers in their community.
In June, and all throughout the year, we must remember that focusing on our health can help us reach our goals, and in turn help our community.
HOPE Buffalo stands for Health, Opportunity, Prevention and Education – and is our goal and wish for men, women and for all our youth.
Stan Martin is director and a senior trainer at HOPE Buffalo.