Bronx Nonprofit Working to Address Youth Mental Health Crisis

A nonprofit in the Bronx is working to address the youth mental health crisis through a new after-school program.

The program, called I Have a Purpose, was made by WHEDco to help students find a way to cope with stressors outside of school, and take moments for themselves.

Each Friday, a handful of sixth- and seventh-graders from P.S. 218 come together for mindful meditation after school. The lead instructor, Ellie Cabassa, says that it helps give kids the tools and resources to understand self-awareness, self-control and perseverance.

WHEDco helped bring this program to the school in September, and they say it’s helped students deal with stress and anxiety following the pandemic.

“Sometimes, there are external stressors that come up in the community or at home that are then brought up and affect the kids here at school,” said Julissa Taveras, a WHEDco social worker.

The program runs in two Bronx schools, but the nonprofit hopes to expand the program to reach as many students as possible in the upcoming new school year.