Howard University students advocate for youth mental health in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE — Throughout the pandemic, many people experienced mental health challenges. One group of college students is hoping to bring awareness to the subject.

Twelve students from Howard University in Washington D.C. spent their alternative spring break at City on a Hill in Milwaukee.

City on a Hill is a nonprofit dedicated to eliminating poverty in one of Milwaukee’s most challenged neighborhoods.

The students hosted a mental health week in at City on a Hill’s youth center. They facilitated a variety of games and activities to help young people in Milwaukee understand the importance of mental health and its connection to our well-being.

“I think it’s important that children start at a young age with expressing their feelings,” said Morgan Henderson, freshman at Howard University.

Henderson and other Howard students spent the week building bonds with students like Niah Northern. The sixth grader is part of City on a Hill’s youth program. In a painting activity, she is filled in a silhouette with positive words, that describe how she views herself.

“I feel like my image is to be nice,” said Northern. “This kind of looks like me but a grown-up version.“

Art Serna is the CEO of City on a Hill. He said this is the first time they’ve been able to host in-person activities since the pandemic started.

“Our hope is that they will be able to elevate the voice of our young people,” said Serna.

Serna added that they are hoping to continue programming like this for the future.

Henderson is just one of the many college students that will walk away with more than just memories.

“We’ve been building bonds with them,” said Henderson. “I wasn’t a big kid person before I came in here but I love the kids”

She’s hoping to continue serving other communities.


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