Ecumenical Center launches the Center for Young Minds

In 2019, Kronkosky Charitable Foundation and the San Antonio Area Foundation commissioned a study on children and youth behavioral health in Bexar County, and then coalesced more than 40 nonprofits, utilizing a collective impact framework, and Results-Based Accountability to establish a common agenda/purpose, set of goals, and indicators that would determine if we were “turning the curve” successfully.

From those community discussions arose a need for a “backbone” to organize the work further, and an extensive, seven-month request for proposal process was initiated by Kronkosky Charitable Foundation. 

In July 2020, the Ecumenical Center was selected by a cross-section of community leaders to host the backbone. Initial staffing of the backbone was completed in October of 2020, and with community feedback, the initiative was named the Center for Young Minds.

The Center for Young Minds will work collaboratively with community to address these three primary problems:

  • At least one in five children and youth under the age of 18 experience a mental health need.
  • The average age of first substance use in Bexar County is 13. 
  • The majority of children and youth with behavioral health symptoms have not been treated and the average delay between the onset of their symptoms and intervention is 8-10 years.

Our Community’s Goal.

To reach every child with behavioral health concerns  as early as possible with effective and responsive services.

This goal will be in collaboration with the community at large, with organizations and efforts that reach youth where they live, learn, play and pray. The effort will be wholly focused on upstream approaches. Bexar County and San Antonio at large has done tremendous work in the area of crisis, spending millions on interventions and programs. Our work will be upstream in nature.

Youth Voices – Report on Behavioral Health.

The first order of business for the backbone staff was to engage youth in order to gain input and insight into needed behavioral health supports. Incorporating youth voice in their own wellness journey was a crucial step. Youth expressed a desire to stay engaged, and will join us in guiding the work ahead.

In total, 14 in-depth, one-hour sessions with youth were held in the fall of 2020 and a full report is now available.

  • Sessions held with youth of similar age ranges
  • Mostly virtual, via zoom; two were in-person group sessions at a local nonprofit
  • Over a dozen nonprofits and schools promoted to youth
  • In total, 40 youth engaged in the intensive process
  • A clinician was present at each session in case a young person needed immediate assistance

Interested in joining the effort?

Over 40 nonprofits and organizations engaged in 2019 to identify the problems to address, created the goal statement, and developed data indicators to help us determine if we could “turn the curve” toward progress. In 2020, with the formation of the Center for Young Minds, the effort was to reengage community, with over 70 organizations and/or departments of government entities to finalize a set of strategies, and then prioritize, based on the community’s will. With a set of prioritized approaches, workgroups and a steering committee will be formed in 2021 to begin catalyzing change.

To join the effort, or to learn more, please reach out to:

Araceli Calvillo image

Araceli Calvillo
Project Coordinator
Center for Young Minds
210.980.4046 (c)
acalvillo@ecrh.org

Rebecca Helterbrand
Executive Vice President
Center for Young Minds
210.710.4812 (c)
rhelterbrand@ecrh.org

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