All RAHS Schools to Have Mental Health Counselors

Mark was 16 years old when he began attending RAHS. Out of school for over a year, aimless and looking for direction, he was encouraged to try RAHS from a friend. Mark had been living with his grandparents and two younger siblings ever since he was 12, and only had sporadic contact with his mother who was struggling to hold down a job due to drug use. Mark and his siblings rarely ever saw their father after he was incarcerated when Mark was 12.

When Mark entered RAHS, he was unapproachable and appeared angry most days. He often started verbal fights with other students and his teachers. When the staff at RAHS, delved deeper into Mark's life, trying to understand his needs and educational goals, a history of trauma and personal pain was uncovered. With the help of a trusted, caring, relationship with a staff member at RAHS, Mark was able to share that he had been dealing with symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety for years, but had never received mental help support to deal with it all. Mark couldn't put words to what he was experiencing, and believed that his thoughts of suicide and just feeling "bad" most of the day was a normal thing. The normal sense of hopelessness, sadness, fear and anger were overwhelming for him, and made attending school daily very difficult. With help from a therapist, recommended by an RAHS staff member, Mark is learning new coping skills, how to with his depression, and is even starting to enjoy his classes.

RAHS currently has four campuses that serve over 700 students a year. Like Mark, many of these youth struggle with depression, anxiety and hopelessness. We want to respond to this desperate need in their lives by working to offer a Mental Health Therapist at each of our campuses over the next five years - but this important undertaking needs funding to make it happen.

We would like to thank our friends, Dave and Tory Schechter, longtime supporters of community health initiatives, for offering to partner with us and raise the funds necessary to place full time therapists at each of our RAHS campuses in the next five years. For this year, our goal is to raise enough funds to hire one full time therapist. The impact will be felt for generations to come!

On behalf of POIC + RAHS, our family, and the millions of Americans who struggle with anxiety, depression, PTSD and other mental health challenges, we would like to thank you for your support of our effort to help fund essential services for the students who attend classes at one of the four RAHS campuses.

Our family has been touched by the mission of POIC+RAHS to support hundreds of young people in our community, as well as the kindness, warmth and dedication to the staff who have committed themselves to ensuring that these kids are able to overcome a multitude of challenges in their lives. Juvenile mental health services are a special area of need for RAHS and we are excited to help play a role in making this goal become a reality.

Thank you for helping us Lead the Change. With your contribution, you'll help change the lives of these young people, who are the futures leaders in our wonderful community and hometown of Portland.

Tory & Dave Schechter

Tory & Dave Schechter

If you would like to make a donation to this life-changing opportunity, you can do so by contacting Caryl Zenker, Director of Development at 503-797-7219, or email her at czenker@portlandoic.org. You can also make a direct donation though the green Donate button above.