John V Lindsay Wildcat Academy Charter School (JVL) supports its students’ growth and achievement through rigorous academic requirements; offers real world internship experiences to help students accomplish future goals; and holds successful sports and culinary programs to provide extracurricular activity. Students often come to JVL from non-charter schools that may not meet their needs, and JVL gives them a second chance to earn their New York State High School Diploma.
With MHSP grant funds acquired in 2018, JVL took student support to the next level by developing a mental health program to further support student wellbeing. Partnering with CUNY Hunter College, JVL has created a pipeline of Mental Health Interns and counselors that provide students social-emotional and mental health support through individual counseling, group counseling, crisis response, drug prevention groups, skill building and emotional regulation techniques. They ensure there is a Mental Health Counselor within the schools to prevent the need for students and families to seek that support elsewhere. In addition, a monthly newsletter focused on mental health is sent out to the community, which discusses what is going on in the field, and includes resources from the local community.
Dr. Elene Peters, clinical psychologist at JVL, credits the program’s success to its team of passionate and qualified mental health counselors and personnel, specifically citing Mental Health Counselor Jessica Levin and Mental Health Intern Nicole Bogutsky. The three work together to meet student and family needs, and the change in students since the program’s development is “night and day.”
Hear more from Dr. Peters, Jessica, and Nicole, on their podcast episode of In Session.