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Chaning health in communities. New group at East High providing a safe space for young girls who are feeling stuck.

 You’ve been feeling down and stressed because of the weather, personal problems and the new semester starting. You want to talk it out, but you feel like you have nowhere to go. You’re worried about being vulnerable and weak and you’re wanting a safe environment. Coincidently, there is a new support group starting at East High and if you’re struggling, you would be a perfect candidate. This is the goal behind the new organization, Chic (which stands for changing health in communities) organized by community partner, Christy Porter. The group started meeting on February 7. It also provides behavioral health and community services. 

Chic Behavioral Health and Community Services is a 501(c)3 nonprofit youth organization dedicated to providing resources and services to youth, their families, and young women who are at risk or have experienced a history of foster care involvement, child poverty, child abuse or neglect, human trafficking, and/or juvenile justice involvement. Starting in 2023, our team has been delivering youth prevention programs to adolescent girls in traditional and alternative education settings, and our curriculum and programs have been implemented in multiple organizations.

If you don’t help yourself and heal yourself, it’s very hard to move forward in anything in life.

— Madeline Cano

“The girls’ group is just a safe space, a supportive, and therapeutic environment,” Porter said. 

Especially for young women, having a space where you feel seen and heard is important. Girls tend to mature faster than boys, so sometimes they can feel overwhelmed because they feel too many emotions and don’t know how to organize them. This is where Porter comes in, someone to help you learn how to be comfortable with your feelings. 

“Just loving on them, supporting them, and treating them as if they were my own,” Porter said. 

The loving and willing to help energy from Porter is exactly what East High needs. Someone who is open to different and creative ways to help young people. She is very passionate about working with youth and is willing to be a role model to anyone who needs it.  

“If you don’t help yourself and heal yourself, it’s very hard to move forward in anything in life,” East’s Community School Coordinator Madeline Cano said.  

When choosing community partners, Cano looks for someone that can help and supports issue areas that East students are currently dealing with. She only chooses partners who can fill gaps or who “vibe” with the students.  

“If you are not good at a base level, I can’t expect you to excel and succeed otherwise,” Cano said. 

If students’ basic needs are not met, it’s hard for them to focus on things like academics. Teenagers sometimes forget to take care of themselves, and this group can be an opportunity to do that. Talking and letting go is so important for the body and the mind, and it takes someone like Porter to facilitate it. 

“She has such good energy,” sophomore Alexis Hicks said.  

Porter’s positive energy is what students need. Someone to help lead you to the good. Teenagers can lose motivation sometimes and need someone to help pick them back up. Somone they can trust.  

“I am not comfortable with everyone, I am not just going to tell y’all my personal business,” Hicks said. 

Meeting new people and having to open up to strangers can be uncomfortable. That is why being consistent is important because you get to know these people and realize if it’s a good fit for you.  

“I want to gain knowledge and guidance of what it is like being a girl transitioning from an adolescent to an adult,” sophomore Ronaziah Buchanan said.  

Life is about growing, and when students transition to different chapters in our lives, students will need a little push. If you have someone you know who can help you learn the things you need to become your best self don’t hesitate to ask for help. 

If you are interested or considering joining this group, talk to your counselors or Cano and they will give you all the information you need to see that this will be a great fit.  

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