Recently, KMEX Univision Noticias 34 visited our Boys & Girls Club of Santa Ana / Joe MacPherson Center for Opportunity to film a story about the work our Clubs are doing to approach mental health and socioemotional wellness.

Much like our approach to programming, our approach to mental health and socioemotional responsiveness is holistic. As part of our four key pillars this year, our Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Orange Coast has been addressing the growing need of this crucial service within our community.

As we navigate the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Club has taken action – doing Whatever It Takes – by collaborating with community partners so we can better serve our youth by tailoring our programming to meet their individual and specific needs.

Through a partnership with Start Well, a mental health consulting agency, our leaders are learning a more socially emotionally responsive approach to behavior and are training our team to implement those approaches, tools, and strategies in our daily program experience. As such, our goal is to:

  • Identify and improve youth’s coping skills
  • Address and instill a positive attitude and outlook for the future
  • Respond and strengthen mental health for ALL youth in our programs

To aid this key initiative, our Club recently introduced a Director of Mental Health & Wellness to our team to help address the increasing need of the nearly 10,000 youth we will serve in Orange County. Our Director will build and manage a network of community partners who specialize in the areas of general mental health, family therapy, behavioral therapy, and other social health and community health services. As our team learns to better recognize signs in youth that are struggling, we will be able to connect families and members to the help and resources they need.

To better equip our members to achieve their greatest potential, we also partnered with Cal State Fullerton’s School of Nursing where Club members have the opportunity to interact with and learn from nursing students as they guide them in physical, mental, and emotional wellness activities.  This partnership has also allowed our mentor professionals to understand the developmental stages of youth and teens, so they are prepared with what to expect developmentally and how to best respond.

Mental health affects every aspect of youth’s lives, from physical health, to decision making and academic performance. And our Club has always aimed to enhance the lives of the youth and families we serve. If you would like to discuss ways your company or organization can help us ensure we strengthen our next generation, please contact David Blair.

The story aired on March 22, 2022. Click here to watch.