Student Support Services Update – September 2022

The start of the school year has been busy for the Student Support Services Department!

First, our Student Leadership and Engagement Coordinator, Celeste Gutierrez, is starting two new student leadership groups: Multilingual Youth Taking Action and the Youth Mental Health Council.

Multilingual Youth Taking Action was created to build the leadership and advocacy capacity of students countywide who are proud to represent their native language and are interested in being multilingual. The mission is to teach students how to advocate in a professional and proactive manner, develop clear communication skills where students are able to speak up for themselves and their educational goals, foster a safe place for speakers of different languages to feel celebrated, uplift the contributions indigenous communities have made to Santa Cruz County, hold weekly meetings to create community and work on group projects that are identified by the students. Students will plan a countywide multilingual summit where students, educators and community members may come together to learn about their rights as multilingual students, as well as have an opportunity to ask questions directly to policymakers, and build community across the county. Multilingual Youth Taking Action meets virtually on Thursdays from 5-6 pm.

The purpose of the Youth Mental Health Leadership Council is to center the youth voice in increasing awareness about topics focused on youth mental health. Students will learn intervention and prevention strategies, gain leadership skills including peer advocacy, contribute to the design of youth wellness centers in schools, and be the spokespeople for issues youth are facing within school communities and in the larger Santa Cruz County community. Youth Mental Health Council meets virtually on Thursdays at 4 pm.

In addition to the two new student leadership groups, Kim Corneille – our Foster Youth Services Coordinator, and Erika Cortes – our Homeless Project Coordinator, started an at-promise student Community of Promise. The purpose of it is to establish more regular communication, collaboration and ongoing best practice sharing for working with our most at-promise students, including Foster and McKinney Vento. It will also be a space for students to receive technical/scenario based assistance regarding difficult situations. The first meeting was held on August 24.

Finally, the Students in Transition program was able to present to Santa Cruz City Schools Social Work Interns Team and the Inside Education Cohort the week of September 5.