ELAYO - Empower Latino Youth

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The ELAYO (Empower Latino Youth) project is a collaborative effort between the Health Equity Institute at San Francisco State University and the California Latinas for Reproductive Justice.

We are concerned with the ways in which Latino youth are negatively perceived, portrayed, and treated. Messages about early sexual initiation, school drop-outs, and gangs often focus on blaming Latino youth and their families for making bad choices.

Our research strives to learn more about how Latino youth perceive and handle competing messages about the importance of sexual health, family, and education. We are also engaging a range of stakeholders who are central to the lives of Latino youth to understand how proactive social and institutional environments for these youth can be mobilized and sustained. Through this process we train emerging social science sexuality researchers and cinematographers on research methodology, educational equity, human research ethics, linkage of research to policy, and how media influences public understanding of sexuality and youth.

Ultimately, we seek to elevate the social status of Latino youth so that they are effectively supported regardless of their choices or circumstances.

Photo Gallery

Browse our photo gallery and view our different events including outreach, grantee convenings and other community activities.


Four documentaries were created for the ELAYO project by SFSU students in Documentary for Health and Social Justice, a course offered by the Health Equity Institute and Cinema Department at SFSU. To order a copy of the ELAYO film series, email the ELAYO team. To watch a specific film, click on the film name below. If you run into an issue when viewing any film, please email us!

Body Republics illustrates the power and the importance of fighting for the right to govern our own bodies
Cariño explores the effect parent-child relationships have on the sexual health and well-being of children and youth
Let’s Talk about Sex features high schools students in East Oakland sharing their perspectives and insights on sex education, what has worked and what hasn’t, and what they need from sex educators
Sex as we know it portrays Latinos en Extasis, a peer-led education program where teens’ modern education bring to light a new age in reproductive health and its role in the lives of the youth generation

Community Briefs

To learn more about the research and evaluation outcomes of ELAYO, download our Community Briefs:

Policy Briefs

To learn about key research findings, their policy significance, and policy recommendations from the ELAYO project, download our Policy Briefs:

  • Policy Brief 1: Creating Opportunities for Latin@ Youth through Evidence-Based Policy
  • Policy Brief 2: Defining Success on our Terms: Education, Sexual Health and Latin@ Youth


Our Work

Community Presentations

National and Regional Scientific Conference Presentations

Policy Briefings


Youth Participation 


View our Film Collection

For media inquires and other questions, please email us or call us at 415-405-7555

Funder Information

ELAYO is funded by the FORD Foundation and is part of the Youth Sexuality Initiative grant. Learn more

Contact Us

Phone: 415-405-7555

Email us!