GivingTuesday, a global generosity movement, celebrates acts of generosity that change our communities. Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give.
StarVista’s Health Ambassador Program for Youth (HAP-Y), provides youth the opportunity to give to their community through mental health education and training. Since its inception in 2017, StarVista’s HAP-Y Health Ambassadors have educated the public on mental health services and resources through over 200 community presentations in San Mateo County.
In celebration of GivingTuesday on December 1, 2020, we asked our HAP-Y youth to share why and how they give to the community through our program. Here are their responses.
“HAP-Y has given me the skills, platform, and knowledge surrounding mental health to recognize the stigma of mental health in my community. In addition, it has given me the public speaking skills to oversee conversations and empower everyone through their own power.”
“I have anxiety and I wanted to expose myself to exercises that can help me as well as helping friends/family with anything they want to get off their chest. I love this program and thought it is a good opportunity to learn new things especially as a teenager.”
“I became a health ambassador to spread awareness of Starvista and our mission. It is a great program for the youth to be more actively engaged in communities to spread awareness of Mental Health topics.”
“I help to educate my peers and friends about their own mental health. I feel as though I’ve made an impact through my presentations and the conversations that I’ve had; mental health is an extremely important part of all of our lives and it’s often overlooked.”
“I give back to my community through the help of HAP-Y, with volunteer in events to reach out and speak out of what HAP-Y has inspired me with tools to help others who are in need of help of someone to trust.”
“I wanted to take a proactive approach and address the needs of my community. I saw that there was a lack of mental health awareness. I was part of the first cohort back in 2017 and it’s been great to see more youth who are passionate about mental health and wellness.”
“I became a health ambassador after watching my friends struggle with anxiety and depression in high school. It was very difficult for them to open up even to people they trusted because of the stigma attached to it. I hope to make these conversations natural and common in the community to help reduce the burden and loneliness people feel when they might be going through challenging moments in life.”
“It was a great program that sparked my passion for mental health, giving me the tools I needed to pursue this field.”
“Through HAP-Y, I’ve given online community presentations to San Mateo Youth on Suicide Prevention. We are working together during these unprecedented times to continue spreading mental health awareness to our peers and beyond.”
“I give back to my community through HAP-Y by using the knowledge and skills I learned to help better support the people around me in times where they may need support.”
“I became a Health Ambassador to gain a deeper understanding of mental health along with being able to help others out in a more meaningful way.”
“I give to my community through HAP-Y by educating on and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness. I also try my best to ensure that people are aware of the resources available to them, and know that they aren’t alone in this fight.”
“It’s an amazing program that is really beneficial to the youth and really teaches us more in depth things that we didn’t even think we would need to know.”
“I have always been fascinated by neurobiology and the chemistry of the brain, so I thought that becoming a Health Ambassador would be really interesting. I also think that mental health is something that society should be more educated about, and I wanted to take steps to keep myself educated, so I can help others.”
“I am able to follow my passion for mental health awareness and inclusion through HAP-Y. The power of connection I’ve built here reflects our goal to decrease stigma around help-seeking and self-care. I also now feel ready to offer my assistance to my peers about sensitive topics.”
StarVista’s HAP-Y program is in partnership with San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS).