500 youth link arms and strengthen their mental wellness

Teamwork makes the dream work! Fr. Vargese, our Baraka site director in Kenya, admired how the Chalice family circles always had a strong sense of unity and took on problems as a team. The site had monthly group meetings which were a safe place to share personal challenges, find support, and make progress together. 

When the pandemic struck, the families felt a deep loss of that social support network since they could no longer meet face-to-face. The impacts rippled to their children. So, when a mental health training program was mentioned, they couldn’t pass it by. 

The Baraka site staff noticed a saddening increase of poor decisions and risky behaviour among their youth. Drop-out rates increased, and low self-esteem and conflict was pervasive. This was combined with the financial and mental stress the pandemic had on the families, which they faced while feeling isolated. 

True to form, the site took on the problem as a community. Thanks to the Chalice donors who supported their program, over the course of a year and a half, 500 youth got to participate!  

The site staff created a program to address each of the areas of pain and distress, and to rebuild the wholistic health of the youth, families, and community. By pouring into the individuals at the Baraka site, they can fill their families’ cups with joy and positivity. 

The participants received mental health training by a counselling psychologist as well as family counselling. They took part in a “Life Skills and Nurturing Talents” course as well as an entrepreneurship and business formation club. A local parish priest provided spiritual direction. 

Fr. Vargese, Baraka site director, observed the students as they grew in their emotional intelligence, conflict-resolution skills, and self-esteem. The more aware they became of their strengths and gifts, the more excited and positive they felt about their futures.  

Fr. Vargese says “On God-given talents, it was evident that most children are still exploring and learning more about themselves and what they love doing,” and that the children “benefitted from acquiring spiritual support and nourishment.” Says Fr. Vargese, and “There are gained knowledge on self-concept, increased self-esteem, and utilizing our talents to glorify the Lord.”  

The community was able to come together again and experience that comfortable feeling like they used to. The community was uplifted and feeling close again. 

You can help more children with their mental health by contributing to our Human Development project that will provide Mental Health Support for Children and Youth. 

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