A $2 million federal grant will help fund Project Thrive, an initiative that will ultimately serve 2,700 patients and create eight new mental health branches at Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the city, officials told NNS ahead of a news conference Thursday.
Ann Leinfelder Grove, president and CEO of SaintA, said Project Thrive will start at two locations: the Mary Ryan Boys and Girls Club, 3000 N. Sherman Blvd., and the Don & Sallie Davis Boys and Girls Club, 1975 S. 24th St. Both locations have clinics that address mental health but will have their services expanded.
The initiative, funded in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, is expected to last five years. SaintA provides prevention, intervention and crisis resources and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee is one of the largest youth-serving agencies in the city. In addition, the Medical College of Wisconsin is also a partner and will collect and analyze data on the effectiveness of the program and ways to improve service delivery.
“The city of Milwaukee has suffered the consequences of ongoing trauma, historical trauma and racism, and it’s impacted the mental health of our community,” Dr. Jody Pahlavan, vice president of clinical service at SaintA and the project director of Project Thrive, said in a news release.
The program will screen children and provide mental health services at the locations. Services at SaintA typically cover stress, anxiety, depression and self-esteem, among other concerns.
Leinfelder Grove said Project Thrive will implement SaintA’s Seven Essential Ingredients of trauma-informed care, an approach that includes relationship building as well as analyzing impact and exposure to trauma.
“Lives will be changed because we are breaking down barriers to youth and families receiving mental health services and meeting those most in need exactly where they are – in their communities,” said Kathy Thornton-Bias, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, in a news release.
The majority of children served through the program will be from communities of color, Leinfelder Grove said. About 64% will be Black and 23% will be Latinx.
Leinfelder Grove said one of the benefits of moving services to Boys & Girls Club locations is that “it’s a setting where they feel safe and they’re actually in their community. It’s a shift away from the formal medical setting.”