May 21, 2024

May: Mental Health Awareness Month


Upstream opportunities: mental behavioral health / Focusing on youth and families

As part of our core beliefs, we define wellness as a state of complete physical, mental, spiritual, economic and social well-being. Wellness is personal and not the same for everyone.

Recently, we’ve been focused on identifying upstream opportunities to improving mental and behavioral health outcomes within San Diego, with a particular focus on youth and families. As May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, we are spotlighting a few of these efforts.

Click here for a summary of our current work in mental and behavioral health.

What we are reading / The Anxious Generation

As part of our own continuous learning as an organization, our staff and board are currently reading Jonathan Heidt’s latest book: The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness. His book discusses a growing body of research linking the accelerating children’s mental health crisis with the arrival of the smart phone and social media. We highly recommend this book!


Grantees Addressing Behavioral Health


Helping students cope in the school setting

Mending Mattersposed group of five youth at a Mending Matters resource table provides direct mental health services to youth through Master’s-level therapists, utilizing trauma-informed and evidence-based approaches in the school setting. They meet the students where they are both physically and mentally. Their program allows students to speak openly in a confidential and safe environment. Mending Matters has served 13,662 students with ongoing mental health services and provided 11,316 brief interventions, including helping students cope with a de-stressing event, providing a safe place for student to practice coping skills on their own, and making supportive connections to families on behalf of students in crisis. They also engage students in other ways to increase resiliency, positive relationships, and protective factors.

Grantee collaboration / Mental wellness event

mental wellness day flyerWe would like to give a special shoutout to our two i2 awardee agencies in their collaboration during Mental Health Awareness Month. Project New Village and Urban Restoration Counseling Center recently worked together on a Mental Wellness Community Workday at the Mt. Hope Community Garden on May 18th.The event featured guest speakers from Urban Restoration Counseling and Mental Health America of San Diego, as well as information on mental health resources, food and refreshments, music, and meaningful community connection through garden activities.




Other May Highlights



Building community voice

Viet VoicesHappy Asian people in front of colorful mural (formerly Viet Vote) works to build community voice, leadership, and meaningful relationships through civic engagement and partnerships. Their consistent outreach into the community has increased voter engagement in the Vietnamese community since inception.






Foodies 4Foster Kids

Promises2Kidsflyer: foodies4foster kids is celebrating this month with Foodies 4Foster Kids. Through the generous partnership of restaurant partners, who have committed to donating part of their proceeds to Promises2Kids during May, you can dine at one of the restaurants and be helping raise awareness and support for the 3,000 current and former foster children in San Diego County. Click here for the list of participating restaurants.

Serving transitional age youth

Just in Time for Foster Youthgraduating happy student and adult, just in time for foster youth invites transitional age youth (18-26) to join a reliable, responsive, and real community that helps them become confident, capable, and connected. This foundational support aims to provide a sense of family and belonging that we all recognize contributes to a sense of well-being.




Other News Worth Sharing

New family & youth center in Cuatro Space / Community collaboration

groundbreaking posed photo for salaam youth community centerSan Diego’s East Africa community, UWEAST and its partners celebrated the groundbreaking for Salaam Family and Youth Center. As part of the Cuatro Space in City Heights, the Center is emerging as the new umbrella for United Women of East Africa (UWEAST), alongside the Refugee Assistance Center and the Southern Sudanese Community Center.



Urban agriculture explained & embraced / Diane Moss & Project New Village

photo of diane moss, project new villageIn a recent Prebys Podcast, Diane Moss of Project New Village (PNV) was interviewed as a recipient of Leaders in Belonging award. Hear how Project New Village is inspiring “urban agriculture” as a growers’ collective.

PNV’s work has recently inspired a local playwright and been featured in the media as well as in the play itself.


filipino woman holding baseball in community garden with surprised look“Through Project New Village, I’ve become a hyper-local farmer by donating my homegrown tangelos and sapotes for sale on their mobile produce truck,” says playwright, Filipino American Thelma Virata de Castro. In her newest play, Virata de Castro is discovering gardens in southeast San Diego and National City. The play, titled “Where We Lay Our Sorrows Down,” also includes mentions of Paradise Gardeners and Olivewood Gardens.


AHF receives award / Thank you, Home Start, Inc.

Home-Start, Inc.AHF team holding award with Home Start team honored AHF with its “Outstanding Community Funding Partner” award. AHF Trustee Alethea Arguilez along with AHF team members Barbara Orozco-Valdivia and Melanie Mijares were in attendance to accept the award at Home-Start’s annual gala. Thank you, Home-Start!





80% sold out / San Diego Fundraising Conference

AHF is pleased to support the San Diego Fundraising Conference, “Navigating the Future of Philanthropy” on September 20, 2024 hosted by San Diego Foundation. If you are interested in attending, register soon. Their site says the event is 80% sold-out.

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