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youth advocates through theater arts

Minute for Mission: World AIDS Day, Presbyterian HIV/AIDS Awareness

Last September, the Youth Advocates Through Theater Arts, a group of thespians I work with, organized a webinar titled HIV HIV Haway (Haway is a local term that means “leave”). YATTA had partnered with the U.N. Population Fund, the Center for Health Solutions and Innovations Philippines and Y-PEER Pilipinas to promote HIV Combination Prevention. The initiative came with the assessment that the Philippines had one of the fastest-growing HIV epidemics in the world, mostly affecting young, marginalized people not easily reached by mainstream health services and programs.

‘My Philippines mission service infused every aspect of my life and career’

As a mission co-worker and cultural worker in the Philippines, sometimes I am utterly exhausted. There are periods that require quite a bit of travel related to meetings and theater-based trainings for children, youth, church workers, teachers, women and others. When I am in Dumaguete, days sometimes stretch into late evenings for rehearsals with our youth theater group or with Silliman University Divinity School students preparing for the annual church workers convocation. So a few years ago, when asked by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program if my husband, Cobbie, and I would consider reopening the Philippines YAV service site, we pondered, could we? Should we? Could we say no?


Program provides hope for victims of sexual abuse Every Saturday in the Casa Esperanza shelter, Gail assists artist-trainer Onna in arts-based sessions for girls who have survived sexual abuse. On Sundays, Gail volunteers as an interpreter for those with hearing impairments during worship at the Little Children of the Philippines. Occasionally she performs in an advocacy play produced by Youth Advocates Through Theater Arts (YATTA) on the issue of teen pregnancy and adolescent reproductive health. She is also an officer in Gender Watch Against Violence and Exploitation (GWAVE) Teen Advocates.