About The VISTA Member:
As an Education and Public Policy and African American Studies double major at Penn State University, I took a lot of coursework that allowed me to explore the intersections of educational policy as it relates to black and brown students. This very coursework led me to see the inequities in the education system that so often affect students living in poverty the most. During my final course at Penn State, I researched the issue of mental health awareness in schools with large numbers of students living in poverty and knew that this was an issue I wanted to help improve upon. I am looking forward to continue researching and developing sustainable mental health resources for my hometown school district with the Philadelphia Health and Human Services Department.
About The VISTA Position:
Approximately 37% of Philadelphia’s youth live in poverty and may experience stressful or traumatizing events impacting their mental health. Early behavioral health intervention is critical so that children can mature into adults capable of leading healthy and stable lives. However, low-income youth often do not access mental health services due to various factors— lack of awareness, difficulty navigating the process, and stigma. To help youth overcome these barriers, the Child Behavioral Health VISTA will coordinate, streamline, and increase service capacity of medical, social service, school, community agencies, and City departments to create sustainable systems of intervention for children who are not receiving critical services.