Ford Fund, Congressional Award Foundation Partner to Offer Emotional Health Workshops for Teens

 

Friday, March 19, 2021 The Congressional Award Foundation (CAF) teamed up with Ford Motor Company Fund (Ford Fund) to conduct free, interactive, virtual mental health workshops for young people in response to the impact on teens during the pandemic.

 

The series of workshops targeted students in Detroit, MI, Houston, TX, and Kansas City, MO, key communities under the foundation’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion outreach program.  Each virtual workshop brought together mental health professionals, high school students and Members of Congress – Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), who provided words of encouragement and shared their own experiences with battling mental health challenges during the pandemic.

 

During last week’s Kansas City workshop, Congressman Cleaver emphasized his long-standing commitment to ending the stigma around treating mental illness, stating, “Remember, it is okay to seek help, and you are not alone in this.” The Congressman has sponsored various related bills such as HR3192 – Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act, HR4327 – Enhancing Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Through Campus Planning Act, HR5469 – Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act, and more.

 

Pamela Alexander of the Ford Fund emphasized the importance of tending to one’s mental health in this period of relative isolation, especially as a young person. “The COVID pandemic, and its impacts, has profoundly affected the mental health and well-being of many teens,” said Alexander, Director, Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund, “Ford Fund is proud to have partnered with the Congressional Award Foundation since early in the pandemic to address this critical issue.”

 

Through the CAF’s increased focus on virtual curriculum, the series of mental health-focused workshops has provided students with a network of support, concrete actions, and quality resources to combat the adverse effects on mental health.  The CAF’s National Director, Erica Heyse, stated she was “grateful for the generosity of the Ford Fund and the expertise of mental health professionals we’ve worked with to address the needs of our country’s youth in these challenging times.”

 

About

The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23. Learn more at www.congressionalaward.org.

 

# # #

Download PDF version.

 

The Foundation Announces Task Force on Curriculum and Virtual Programming

Education Leaders Unite to Develop Emotional and Mental Health Summer Programs for Students


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2020 — Today, The Congressional Award Foundation (CAF), the United States Congress’ public-private partnership for young Americans, created the Task Force on Curriculum and Virtual Programming, following the suspension of its annual Gold Medal Ceremony. The task force will provide middle, high school, and college students with at-home resources for emotional and mental health, STEM education, and opportunities to remain engaged in community service. The group is chaired by CAF board member Dr. Linda Mitchell, extension professor and regional extension coordinator, Mississippi State University.

The Congressional Award Foundation Task Force on Curriculum and Virtual Programming is developing content for students and educators alike within virtual learning platforms. The task force recently released opportunities for Congressional Award participants to complete their goals from the safety of their homes with the introduction of Tools and Tips in the Age of Coronavirus and Feel Good News: Participants Answering the Call to Service. Guest speakers, lecturers, Congressional Award presentations, guidance for effective goal-setting, and opportunities to meet immediate needs through volunteerism are among the programs that will soon be available.

“We are excited to bring together an alliance of exceptional leaders in education to assist in the evolution of The Congressional Award Foundation and how it serves America’s youngest constituents during these challenging times,” said Paxton Baker, Chairman of the Board of The Congressional Award Foundation. “Many of our teens are withdrawing and finding it difficult to navigate through this period of isolation away from friends, sports, and hobbies. There is concern from parents and teachers that students do not have the experience with self-care and methodology to bring joy and passion back into their lives. We are committed to filling that void.”

Among the committee, members include Congressional Award Foundation board of directors and alumni in the education and non-profit sectors: Dr. Brian Johnson, president & CEO, Advance Higher Ed, LLC (Washington, D.C.); Kathryn Weeden, former principal, United States Senate Page School (Washington, D.C.); Laura O’Connor, registrar, Cedar Valley High School (Eagle Mountain, Utah); Mateo Magdaleno, chief education officer, IDQ Group, Inc. (Dallas, Texas); Mitch Draizin, president, CUNY LGBT Advisory Council (New York, New York); and Romero Brown, chief professional officer, Romero Brown Consulting (Acworth, Georgia).

The committee formed in response to the suspension of The Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony, prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, originally scheduled to take place June 15-17, 2020 at the United States Capitol. The Ceremony traditionally welcomes members of the United States Congress, public and private partners, and industry and civic leaders to recognize gold medalists before an audience of their families and peers in a multi-day event. Last year’s ceremony recognized 538 youth across 42 states and territories who logged at least 800 hours of voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration activities.

To learn more about The Congressional Award or to support the mission during this transition, including donations, please visit www.congressionalward.org.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

# # #
Download PDF Version

Contact:
Kyle Rosenbaum, for The Congressional Award
(212) 266-0222
krosenbaum@kylearnett.com