By Susan Parmelee
The Wellness & Prevention Center (WPC) is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2014 by concerned community members to increase access to mental health services for local teens and families.
We began supporting students and their families at San Clemente High, and have since expanded our services with San Juan Hills High, Aliso Niguel High, Marco Forster Middle, Shorecliffs Middle, and Bernice Ayer Middle.
Additionally, we offer after-school support at our community clinic located in a former administration building of San Clemente High’s upper campus.
The WPC’s mission has always been to help youth and families live healthy lives. Since opening our doors, we have supported more than 1,500 teens and families with mental health services and more than 10,000 youth and adults with community prevention education.
Our organization has also engaged in collaborative efforts throughout Orange County aimed at lowering the stigma surrounding the diseases of mental health and substance-use disorders while advocating for greater access to supportive services.
As an organization, we have continually adapted and built strategies to respond to the needs of the young people in our community. If we are ever unable to meet a need, we collaborate with other local community resources or seek additional funding to help us meet this need.
An example of a community need where we require additional support and more collaborative efforts is suicide prevention, especially among youth and teens.
Today, the WPC is proud to have both state and federal funding for suicide prevention efforts, as well as partnerships with several individuals and organizations to educate youth and teens on the risks of fentanyl.
Youths are at the forefront of our work at the WPC. We support two high school clubs, and a youth advisory group guides our programming. These youths are engaged in leadership skills development, evidence-based prevention strategies, and developing healthy coping skills.
This type of peer-to-peer prevention is highly effective and leads to improved well-being among the youth in our community.
Our community clinic is where we provide mental health support and community prevention education to South Orange County families who cannot access services at their school site.
As previously stated, Capistrano Unified School District graciously allows us to use a school administration building to house our excellent community-based staff. However, due to our growing staff and aspirations, we have outgrown this space.
Because of our growth, we are hoping to find and furnish a second space for our team, which would most importantly increase availability for easy access to no-cost mental health services and prevention education in our community.
Secondly, such space would also increase collaboration and workspace for our staff, and overall create a healthier work environment.
To help us establish a second location for our team and the families that we serve and tap into the generosity of the season, our talented staff has implemented a “Giving November” campaign that aims to raise $50,000 to apply to rent, furnishings, and decor.
Aside from monetary donations, we welcome gently used office furniture donations from any businesses that might be remodeling.
The entire WPC staff is thankful for our partnerships, donors, staff and volunteers who help us serve our community. We are continually seeking funding to support our services and the community.
Please consider contributing to our Giving November campaign to make a second office space a reality.
Susan Parmelee is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and executive director of the Wellness & Prevention Center: wpc-oc.org. She can be reached at email@example.com.