Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Mental Health Awareness in the Community

Name: Seyan Ayinde
From: Rosenberg, Texas
Grade: 10th
School: George Ranch High School
Votes: 12


Last
year I began volunteering with Creative Peace, a non-profit agency,
that provides resources in the community to individuals suffering or
dealing with mental health concerns. Some individuals suffering from
mental illness may become high school dropouts, experience
unemployment, homelessness, and sometimes incarceration. A reason I
decided to volunteer with this organization is because a close friend
was experiencing difficulties with mental health illness, medication
compliance and unemployment. Creative Peace provided her with a care
package that included information from the National Alliance on
Mental Illness (NAMI), provided personal hygiene products and some
healthy snacks. My friend and her family was thankful to receive
these items and information. Thus, I decided to become involved and
assist other families who experience similar difficulties. My
responsibilities volunteering with Creative Peace is to pass out
mental health pamphlets, purchase items, assemble care packages, and
pass them out.

On
average, I volunteer up to 10 hours a month with Creative Peace. Many
of my volunteer hours includes working in concession stands as a
cashier at local entertainment establishments. I enjoy interacting
with customers at the concession stands and raising funds to assist
individuals. Volunteering with Creative Peace has been a humbling
experience. One of the challenges for me is to witness individuals
who refuse to comply with taking medications, and receiving or
applying for assistance. A few of my experiences have also been heart
breaking to observe. It’s extremely difficult to watch pan-
handlers or families beg for money on the side of intersections
adjacent to major highways. It is also difficult to observe
individuals argue with their loved ones and refuse to get help. Many
of the individuals are not aware of the choices that they are making
and how it affects their lives.

Recently
I had the opportunity to purchase canned food, nonperishable items,
and healthy snacks at Kroger. The director of Creative Peace gave me
a $150 gift card to purchase and deliver canned foods items for a
local group home. The residents of the group home were extremely
appreciative and thankful for the donations. I am thankful for the
opportunity to purchase and deliver the food items. I experienced
personal fulfillment and gratification because I made a difference in
somebody’s life.

In
addition, the benefits of providing insightful information and gift
bags are enormous. After receiving the gift bags, the residents were
appreciative and thankful. My participation provides hope to
individuals with mental health concerns. I’ve gained a wealth of
knowledge since I’ve been volunteering with Creative Peace. I have
learned that there is a need for awareness and education to assist
individuals with mental health issues. There is also a need for
assistance in obtaining medical or monetary benefits, legal
representation, and housing. Many people are not aware that NAMI
provides support to families and counseling to individuals who suffer
from mental health issues. There is a need for more volunteers,
financial support, and education on the topic of community mental
health. This has been an awesome experience.


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