Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board

Fairfax County, Virginia

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Daryl Washington,
Executive Director

CSB awards mini-grants for ten youth-led anti-stigma projects

youth led mini grants

The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) has currently awarded mini-grants for 10 projects, all planned and led by young people, which aim to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues among their peers. Each of the projects will be implemented by August 15th, 2022.

Funding for the CSB's mini-grant program for youth-led projects is from a regional suicide prevention grant in collaboration with the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern VA (SPAN).

"The purpose of this initiative is for youth to lead the way in helping their peers and community to recognize a mental health concern in themselves or in someone else, and to not hesitate to get help," says Marla Zometsky, Manager of CSB Wellness, Health Promotion and Prevention Services.

The grants were awarded to:  

Diana Morales: T Vape

Frost Minds Matter: Frost Minds Matter’s Buttons for Change

Lydia Perkins: Portable Comfort Classroom

Strawbridge Square Community Center: Mental Health/Suicide Awareness Prevention Walk

Psi Alpha Alpha chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc: Manup Mental Awareness

Nami Northern Virginia: Youth Fest 2022/ Wellness Kits

Derek Liu: Youth Mental Health Documentary Project

Enterprise Community Development (ECD): Wake Up / Step Up Reston Youth Empowerment

Ava Belmont: The Mindfulness Spot

Jack Barnes: Buttons Unite Students

"One in every five people in the U.S. experiences a mental health disorder every year," says Zometsky. "Mental health disorders are common and treatable, but people are often reluctant seek help because of the misunderstanding and stigma.

 For youth, studies show that stigma, trust and confidentiality are barriers to help-seeking. Youth are powerful leaders in overcoming the barriers to suicide prevention as they help to create messages and strategies that resonate with their peers.  Their involvement has a profound impact on the culture of their schools and communities, ultimately leading to the social change that can help to increase help-seeking, reduce stigma and prevent suicide.

The CSB and SPAN seek to support young people to be the driving force for a positive culture change to eliminate the stigma around mental illness.

Interested in applying for a Youth-Led Mini Grant – look for the next opportunity in Fall 2022.

Interested in getting involved in other prevention focused youth initiatives, such as the Fairfax Prevention Coalition? Contact CSB's Wellness, Health Promotion & Prevention team.

Learn more about the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board.

Contact Information

Contact for news media inquiries: Lisa Flowers, Communications Director, 571-474-5435 (cell) or 703-324-7006 (office).

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