We wish to express our sincere gratitude to Northwestern Memorial HealthCare (NMH) for the generous gift of $9,999.00 in support of mental health care for our job seekers. As part of NMH, Northwestern Medicine Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) is dedicated to identifying vital health needs across all social strata in the community. It is due to the organization’s tireless efforts that we receive this grant to aid our program participants who are coping with phase of life changes and trauma. We are very grateful for the increased opportunity to serve our youth participants that this generous funding provides us.

AACF serves one of our most vulnerable populations: economically challenged youths who are coping with varying forms of trauma and who represent the most medically underserved individuals in the community. The majority of our participants are BIPOC with 89% of our clients being African American, 10% Hispanic, and 1% representing other races.

As a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) service provider we are well aware of the impact of economic challenges, underrepresentation in the field of healthcare, and racial inequality on youth who may already be experiencing other barriers to employment. Among many examples of barriers to employment a few are: being a high school dropout, parenting youth, having a disability, having an incarceration record, or growing up in an area of high crime which can contribute to experiencing trauma and other impactful conditions. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic saw an acute upswing in mental health conditions as well as a sharp economic recession, both calling for increased access to mental health care.

There are times when we all could use a helping hand. Coping with anxiety, depression, trauma, and other mental health conditions, in addition to phase of life challenges is enormously impactful on youths who may be unemployed, seeking employment, or working towards furthering their education and/or job training. In order to serve our community of youth participants coping with these challenges and assist them on their journey towards economic freedom we will provide short term therapy in partnership with Sista Afya, a social enterprise delivering mental health services to women and minorities and courtesy of the generous Northwestern Memorial HealthCare grant. The mental health initiative will also offer community mental health awareness events to our clients and the community on Chicago’s West Side on a bimonthly basis.

We are proud to partner with Sista Afya to provide mental health care services to our clients. Thank you to Northwestern Memorial HealthCare for your generous gift enabling us to provide this important service to our youth program participants.

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