Over the course of the 8-week program, the participants learned about working in the field of Psychology and the helping professions. Through guest speakers and field trips, they met with licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, marriage and family therapists, and professional clinical counselors. One of the highlights of the program was the field trip to Psychiatric Emergency Services at San Francisco General Hospital, where the participants saw firsthand what it’s like to work in a psychiatric emergency room. Another participant cited visiting the RAMS Fu Yau Project as her favorite experience, since learning about preschool mental health consultation strengthened her resolve to become a child psychologist.
Besides learning about the various paths to working in the mental health field, the participants were introduced to basic listening and counseling skills, ideas about stigma and the origins of mental illness, and strategies for practicing self-care. They presented final projects on some of the topics that interested them more, including: eating disorders, the intergenerational transmission of trauma.
The youth developed strong relationships with each other, with the three peer mentors, and with the three staff members. One of the most notable comments that the staff received was that
Summer Bridge was the only place some of these youth have ever felt comfortable to be themselves.More than just an opportunity to learn, this program provided a new template for social experiences with peers.
Now, the participants will return to high school, or head off to college, with this new knowledge about steps to take for their futures. All participants are invited to join Youth Council, the youth advisory board for RAMS, which meets throughout the school year. After the program ended, Summer Bridge hosted an end-of-summer reunion for this year’s cohort to meet previous cohorts. To further build upon and sustain lasting relationships, Summer Bridge will host another reunion in the winter.
For more details about this program, visit http://www.ramsinc.org/summerbridge.html