12/15/2023 UPDATE: IYT Receives $75K Grant from Kaiser to address mental health and emotional wellness among YMOC.
We are thrilled to announce a significant milestone in the journey of Improve Your Tomorrow (IYT) and its commitment to fostering mental health and emotional wellness. Thanks to the generous support of Kaiser Permanente, our Brothers of Sankofa initiative has been awarded a $75,000 grant. This substantial contribution underscores our shared vision of addressing mental health challenges and nurturing wellness in our communities.
The involvement of Kaiser Permanente extends beyond financial support. We were honored to have the presence and insights of Dr. James (Jay) L. Robinson III, PsyD, MBA, who serves as the Senior Vice President and Area Manager of the Sacramento and South Sacramento service areas at Kaiser Permanente.
Dr. Robinson graced attended our Mental Health Day this past July, engaging with our young men on the crucial topic of mental health stigma, particularly in communities of color. His inspiring career journey and enlightening perspective on Kaiser Permanente’s integrated model of care left an indelible mark on our participants.
We are immensely grateful for this partnership, which not only brings invaluable financial resources but also high-quality mental health care information and leadership support to our doorstep. This collaboration is a testament to our ongoing efforts to create a supportive and understanding environment for the young men in our programs.
IYT's Mental Health Day was focused on two objectives; demystifying and destigmatizing mental health for young men of color. The day's offerings were carefully curated to create an environment that encourages open and honest dialogue. Participants had the privilege of hearing from mental health professionals like Dr. Robinson, who share their experiences as people of color, cultivating an atmosphere that is both non-threatening and receptive.
A significant highlight involved smaller group discussions where participants shared personal experiences of trauma. These intimate sessions, conducted within a healing circle, served as a safe haven for participants to bond, learn from one another, and explore deeply personal topics. In the words of IYT member and participant, Jameele Anderson, "I enjoyed the conversations about mental health, but more specifically when we broke off into smaller groups because it provided a safe space for us to learn about each other and discuss personal things. Everyone was vulnerable and comfortable."
IYT's Mental Health Day served as an impactful platform that not only imparts knowledge but nurtures a sense of connection and understanding among the young brothers, fostering a culture of acceptance and growth.