Boys & Girls Clubs Receive $25,000 Donation to Address Mental Health

Ryan Juntti
Updated: October 31, 2019 12:01 AM

Two Northland organizations are coming together to combat mental health issues among Northland youth. Rotary Club 25 of Duluth donated $25,000 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland on Wednesday to help fund their new mental health access program for kids who need it most.


Rotary Club 25 of Duluth reached out to area non-profits. They found out the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland was looking to address mental health and wanted to help with that.

"We were really trying to find, 'what is something that is really impacting our youth?' " said Rotary Club of Duluth President Michelle Buria.

So when the mental health needs of Northland kids were shown to be so underfunded, the Rotarians agreed, it was a no-brainer.

"When we were talking about the mental health access, this was really something that we felt we could commit to on a long-term basis and we'd be able to see the needle move," said Buria.

The $25,000 they donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland is the funding the organization needed to be able to start the new mental health access program.

"When you see kids in here every day in our clubs, and you can see they're struggling, this kind of help can give them the tools that they need to rise above their situation," said Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland Resource Development Director Tammy Sundbom.

The help for the kids will come in the form of health care interns from the College of St. Scholastica, but trained professionals will be brought in if they identify the need.

"We're gonna make sure by bringing in students from the masters social work program at the College of St. Scholastica in to help us identify the needs, we're gonna make sure that therapy comes to them at the clubs, and that they don't fall through the cracks," said Sundbom.

Health experts agree that catching needs early on can be critical.

"If you don't get mental health symptoms addressed when they're small and just beginning, they're going to continue to grow," said Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northland Clinical Supervisor for Mental Health Leslie Chaplin. 

"Integrating mental health into the Boys & Girls Club is a perfect place to be able to support what already happens here, and to catch some mental health symptoms when things are small," Chaplin said.  

Chaplin says when it comes to identifying a mental health problem, parents should look out for changes in their kids with their eating or sleeping habits as well as behavioral changes that last at least two weeks.  

WDIO is partnering with local organizations to identify issues and to coordinate our community response. We can accomplish great things when we come together as a community. To learn more about participating organizations, visit WDIO Creating Change. Be part of the solution.


Ryan Juntti

Copyright 2019 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved


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