“Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood”

Stephen Covey’s famous Habit 5 for Highly Effective People guides TeenSmart’s work. We use it with the youth who visit JovenSalud.net and also in our field work with schools and communities.

Case in point: During the first few months of 2021, TeenSmart’s Health Promoters organized 16 listening and dialogue sessions with community partners. We wanted to know how they have been feeling, what they are thinking, and what is driving their work with Central American teens. 

Virtual meeting TeenSmart International
Virtual meeting TeenSmart International
Virtual meeting TeenSmart International

Their feedback helped us to mutually chart strategies to support teens in 2021. Here are some of the things they had to say:


  • We know we have to keep innovating with teens so we are always looking for new strategies

  • Virtuality has helped us reach teens, but there are still too many teens who don’t have access to the virtual world

  • The main emotions teens tell us they have are: sadness, anxiety, annoyance and frustration

  • Teens did not have an escape valve last year when they were out of school. They didn’t have anywhere to go and they needed even more psycho-emotional support

  • Our students are struggling! Education, work, family difficulties, addictions, socioeconomic conditions, conflictive environments – it doesn’t stop.