YouThrive Offers Workshops on Race, Equity,
and Mental Health at College of Marin 
Creating community and a safe space for youth to get emotional support is in the DNA of Side by Side’s YouThrive program. It’s what we’ve always done for middle and high school kids who are engaged in troubling behavior. We help them gain a new mindset, coping skills and inspire them to stay on a positive path.

What’s new at YouThrive is providing this type of support to college-aged students. Thanks to a new community partnership with Marin’s iconic educational institution, College of Marin, YouThrive recently completed a 6-week pilot workshop for black and indigenous people of color (BIPOC) students. Call to Courage was created to help students explore the topics of race, class, health, and related issues that affect student life, community, and educational experiences. A resounding success, the next Call to Courage series will begin February 4, along with a similar workshop designed for faculty offered on January 19.

YouThrive Program Manager Adrian Maldonado, says the virtual workshop fosters a safe and inviting space for students to explore, challenge and relate their perceptions, observations and lived experiences. Students also receive access to Side by Side’s mental health resources.
In addition to creating this safe space, “We wanted to create a structured opportunity for students to reflect within themselves and then go back out to their families, campus, and the greater community with a deeper understanding how they want to engage and of the experiences they wish to create,” says Maldonado.
Although plans for the program began in the fall of 2019, the pilot launch was timely because many students were having anxiety and feeling distressed after the death of George Floyd in police custody last summer and the subsequent rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. “They were isolated because of the pandemic and had nowhere to share their experience.” Stormy Miller, Director of Student Accessibility and Psychological Services at College of Marin, agrees. “What’s happening in the world right now creates an even greater need for us to understand how our students of color engage and how we might shift our approach to better meet their needs. “Our ultimate goal is to create an equity-centered approach to mental health.”

Call to Courage workshop topics included identity; culture and privilege; vulnerability; navigating emotions and relationships; mental health first aid; restorative justice; and social justice.

Paula Hernández, a third-year psychology student at COM who attended the workshop, said, “In a world where stereotypes label you, it makes it difficult to show your true self. A takeaway for me is that I will strive to be the person I’ve always wanted to be, as long as I stay true to myself.”