Monday, October 31, 2011

Supporting Immigrant Students

American classrooms have become increasingly diverse. Immigrants and refugees now comprise over 20 percent of the students in U.S. public schools, and this percentage is expected to grow to 30 percent by 2015. The number of English language learners has also increased, doubling in size from 1995 to 2005.*

Students who are first, second, third and even fourth generation immigrants may encounter (and continue to encounter) emotional, social and academic challenges.

Galileo High School’s Wellness Center team members Ulash Dunlap, LMFT (RAMS Behavioral Health Counselor) and Deborah Bryant, RN contributed to a publication titled “Strategies for Engaging Immigrant and Refugees Families.” This is a document produced by National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention and published by Education Development Center in July, 2011. The publication interviews individuals and schools across the country and is a wonderful resource for our school community. Below it is a summary of some of the educational, emotional and social lessons learned in working with immigrant students. Hope you find this information useful in your work!

Social and Emotional Challenges of Immigrant Students and Families

• Many families have experienced separations for extended periods as children are sent ahead to live with relatives, or parents emigrate first in order to establish a life before sending for their families.
• There is the stress of moving to a new environment and culture. Immigrant families face the challenge of adapting to a new culture and learning new rules and roles.
• Families may experience conflict between generations as children and youth often acculturate more quickly than their parents.
• Many parents experience the stress of not being able to speak the language. They may experience adult and child role reversals when children learn English more quickly and need to act as interpreters and negotiators with health care and school officials.
• Lack of involvement in the immigration process: students not involved in the moving process may exhibit anger towards parents.

• Most immigrant families deeply care about their children’s education and health. However, many immigrants often show respect for schools by keeping their distance; the unspoken norm in many countries outside of the United States is that it is the teacher’s job is to educate their children, and thus it is disrespectful to a teacher’s expertise for parents to participate.
• Other factors that may influence parental engagement are parent’s limited English language proficiency, parent’s negative perceptions of the school environment, work schedules, limited formal education, lack of resources and ability to help their children with homework.
• Social isolation from language/cultural barriers can lead to truancy, gang involvement, depression, and other mental health issues.
• Emphasis on high academic performance can cause anxiety and stress for the student.
• Lack of positive role models that can relate to immigrant youth’s unique up-bringing and experience; makes developing a positive self-identity and hope for the future more difficult.

• Grief and loss issues: leaving family members, friends, and communities behind, losing previous socio-economic status, social or cultural identities, or transitioning from dominant to minority group consciousness, may create a sense of loss. Immigrant students may also experience resentment, stress, anxiety, discrimination, and hostility in their new communities.
• The notion of a healthy kid may be different from the Western idea of “healthy adolescent development.” For example, in some cultures, being a healthy kid means to not talk about problems outside the family.
• Language barriers: frustration in being misunderstood, teasing by peers can create loneliness and isolation.

Here Are Some Strategies Staff Might Find Helpful:
• Provide opportunities for immigrant students to tell their stories. Share those stories with the school community (during faculty or department meetings, postings on the school web site and/or G-House TV).
• Recognize that it may take five to seven years for students to learn how to read and write in English. Take this into account as you create and grade class work and tests.
• Mental health issues may arise as a result of exposure to war, dislocation, acculturation, and fear of deportation. To avoid stigma, don’t use the labels “mental health or “mental illness.” Refer students to the Wellness Program for counseling.
• Consider becoming a mentor. A mentoring relationship with an adult can help children to sustain hope and enhance engagement in school.

If you would like more information or get a downloadable copy, you can also visit the National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention web site at:

Source * Morse, A. (2005, March). A look at immigrant youth: Prospects and promising practices. National Conference of State Legislatures, Children’s Policy Initiative.

Friday, October 21, 2011

RAMS Hire-Ability Vocational Services: A salute to our Production business partners

Our Hire-Ability Vocational Services is well known for the Employment Services, Employee Development, CafĂ© Phoenix, Vocational IT and Janitorial training programs. However, less is known about our business venture & the businesses that support the soft skills training and assessment program that provide individuals with mental health conditions paid work while working on their soft skills and other barriers to gain competitive employment.

For about 10 years, Mosaic Mercantile has been a close production business partner and continues to be the main vendor of Hire-Ability. Hire-Ability is the main source of workforce labor for Mosaic Mercantile and continues to meet their needs through packaging, labeling and preparing craft kits. Most of their items are sold through nationwide craft stores such as Michaels Arts & Crafts and Beverly’s Fabrics and Crafts.

Besides Mosaic Mercantile, our Hire-Ability production vendors include Living Intentions, an organic food company whose products are distributed through Whole Foods Market and Draegers Market. University of California San Francisco and University of the Pacific are two other vendors that we continually do business with, by packaging supplies for both dental schools. Other vendors that we are proud to partner with are Flax Art & Designs, Glob, KFOG and Open Door Products. Flax Art & Designs has recently added the Hire-Ability’s logo on their select craft paper items labels which are sold through their online business and retail stores.

These businesses provide revenue necessary to enhance our clients’ training and assessments through paid work activity. If you are interested in being a vendor with Hire-Ability, please contact Ms. Bin Bin Chen at 415.282.9675 xt.233 or If you would like to gain more information on referring clients to our programs or to have a tour of our facility, please contact our Intake Coordinator at 415.282.9675 xt.207.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fox and Jewel, November 18-20, 2011

As part of their Fall 2011 Season, GenRyu Arts, together with Asian Improv aRts and JCCCNC, presented Tsukimi Matsuri at San Francisco’s Japantown Peace Plaza on October 15. This featured GenRyu Arts-Gen Taiko & Odori, and master artist Hideko Nakajima and Hideki Kai, Kaala Carmack and the J-town Hui, Francis Wong, Todd Nakagawa, Ravi Chandra, and other artists.

Coming up in November, music, poetry, animation and drama will combine for a feast of the senses! Fox and Jewel is a modern retelling of a Japanese fox myth in support of Japantown. As San Francisco prepares to redevelop Japantown, fears abound as to what redevelopment will do to the spirit of this vibrant community. This fun and timely collaboration arose as an expression of community concern. Featuring taiko artist/dancer/choreographer Melody Takata, poet and writer Ravi Chandra, actor/comedian Todd Nakagawa, shamisen/taiko/jazz artist Tatsu Aoki, composer/jazz artist Francis Wong, Gen Ryu Arts cast, filmmaker Adebukola Bodunrin, and lighting designer Patty Ann Farrell.

Fox and Jewel will be held from November 18 through 20th at the Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th Street.  For more info and tickets to this event, click HERE.

Dr. Ravi Chandra, who is one of the collaboratoring artists with Gen Ryu, is also a Medical Director at RAMS.  His most recent book of poetry A Fox Peeks Out, described as " meditations on spirituality, life and technology", will also be available at a discount at the Fox and Jewel performance.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Remembering Mary Jane Hipe

It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of our beloved staff, Ms. Mary Jane T. Hipe, M.A. Ms. Hipe passed away on September 28th in San Francisco. Although she was battling health related conditions for some years, which she bravely handled & coped with, her passing was so sudden and is a shock to us. We mourn her loss and will always cherish the memories of her and working with her.

Ms. Hipe began her employment at RAMS, as a Mental Health Counselor, back in 1996 and has been working with us since then until her sudden passing. As a Mental Health Counselor, bilingual in Tagalog and Waray-Visayan dialect, she worked in various capacities over the years, working at RAMS Adult Outpatient Services Clinic and Child, Youth & Family Outpatient Services as well as working offsite at various sites providing counseling and consultation services (such as Balboa Teen Health Center and West Bay Pilipino Multi-Service, Inc.). Additionally, when not at RAMS, she worked as a Therapist at Daly City Youth Health Center for 12 years, where she counseled students at two different high schools. Ms. Hipe worked tirelessly to serve those in need and worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of clients and families as well as school personnel, teachers, and administrators. Also, before moving to the United States, she had worked for about a decade as a Guidance Counselor and Psychometrician in the Philippines.

Jane was a truly genuine, talented, compassionate, skilled, and effective counselor. She thought deeply about her work and maintained a steadfast commitment to work in community settings, year after year. She was seen as a leader & major resource to the community, especially the Filipino-American community. Jane had presented at various conferences, conducted & facilitated many workshops, and received many awards & acknowledgements. Among the various recognitions, she received a Certificate of Honor from San Francisco Board of Supervisors for her selfless contribution of time & expertise and strengthening Pilipino families, and she received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Healthy Start Program for her hard work & dedication. She loved her work and working with people, always making a positive difference in other people’s lives. She cared about everyone and was always so generous with her time, kind words, thoughtfulness, and giving greeting cards & little gifts at different occasions.

We extend our sincere condolences to her family, friends, and co-workers as well as those who knew & worked with her over the years. We will sorely miss her and her positive presence, but we will never forget her and will always keep her spirit alive.

Information on Visitation/Vigil/Funeral:
Friends are invited to visit after 4:00pm on Monday, October 3rd, 2011 and visit after 4:00pm on Tuesday, October 4th with a Vigil Service at 7:00pm on Tuesday, all at Duggan's Serra Mortuary, 500 Westlake Ave., Daly City.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, October 5th at 10:30am at St. Andrew Church, 1571 Southgate Ave., Daly City.
As we have been advised, in lieu of flowers donations may be made to Daly City Youth Center, 2780 Junipero Serra Blvd., Daly City, CA 94015-1634 or RAMS, 3626 Balboa St., San Francisco, CA 94121.

Friends are encouraged and more than welcome to leave condolences online at the Duggans Memorial Guestbook HERE.