October 6, 2023
Hispanic Heritage Month and Our Spanish Programming

Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 – Oct. 15 this year. The U.S. government celebrates the countless contributions of more than 60 million Hispanic Americans, Latinos, Latinas, and Latinx-identifying people to our society.

The theme for 2023 is “Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America,” highlighting the contributions of Hispanics to the economic, political, and social growth of the United States.

Everyone faces adversity and mental health challenges. Within the Hispanic community 22% of people report mental health challenges. That is a lot of people especially considering mental health challenges are often viewed as a weakness within the community often leading to people less likely to reach out for support. Those who do reach out to support face barriers such as language barriers, therapists who are not culturally competent, and insurance issues.

Our Newest Spanish-Speaking Peer Mentors at their Graduation


The NAN Project has recently begun implementing hispanic voices into our mental health programming to combat this stigma. This year we had five Spanish-speaking and two bilingual peer mentors train and graduate to work with The NAN Project and tell their inspiring stories of mental health struggles! We were thrilled to welcome these Spanish speaking peer mentors to our team as they help us to better expand our reach into diverse communities. In October alone, we already have five foreign language presentations lined up! For example, this week at Keverian Middle School in Everett, MA we presented to a class and shared Comeback stories in both Spanish and Portuguese.

Spanish Language Presentation in Everett, MA

Mental health can be especially stigmatized in hispanic communities, therefore it is extremely important to us that our programming is multiculturally accessible. During our spanish speaking presentations, we have noticed that students connect much more with the topic of mental health when the stories and struggles are told in their native language. We look forward to continuing to build upon our spanish language programming and are excited to offer hispanic youth the chance to explore their feelings and emotions surrounding mental health. 


Some Hispanic based mental health supports are:


Hispanic Clinical Services in Lawrence MA


Cass Esperanza in Boston MA

The American Society of Hispanic Psychiatry

Therapy for LatinX


Some of the events coming up locally to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month are:


Friday Oct. 6, 2023 

6-10 pm

Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Fundraiser 


Fri, Oct 6, 7:30 – 8:30 PM

40 Academy Hill Rd, Brighton, MA

For children ages 7-12, they will learn the basics of poetry writing and will share their poems with the group; led by Boston Youth Poet Laureate Alondra Bobadilla


Thu, Oct 26, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Boston Public Library – Central Library

700 Boylston St, Boston, MA

For the month of October, Special Collections will be highlighting items in our collections from Hispanic creators for National Hispanic Heritage Month. Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month


Fri, Oct 13, 8 – 10 AM

Union Station Grand Hall

2 Washington Sq, Worcester, MA

Presented by CENTRO Inc., The Institute of Latino Art & Culture invites you to their 4th Annual Central Mass Hispanic Heritage Breakfast


September 29, 2023
Finding Help

With a new school year comes new and renewed stressors…many find themselves overwhelmed with school, grades, activities, tests, friends, home responsibilities, and how to juggle all that. Some kids have great coping skills already, some are developing ones, some are very independent, and some need help. Sometimes its just about figuring out what kind of help you want or need. It could be extra help at school or a therapist.  Determining if you want help and what kind of help you’re looking for is the first step.

The next step is finding “your people” which is vital for being able to get the help you want or need. That looks different for different people. Sometimes it’s a peer group, family, teachers, mental health professionals, or doctors. The main thing that is important is finding them. A great place to start is in your family, doctors office, and school. Teachers and school counselors are amazing resources to utilize and can open up a ton of other possibilities. A school counselor or primary care doctor can get you linked to resources you might need out of school hours. They can put in referrals to therapists, peer mentors, support groups, and they can help you have discussions with your family on accessing these things.

A lot of students really worry about how they are going to financially get the help they need. If that is a problem the professionals already in your life (i.e. school counselors and doctors) would hopefully be able to point you in the direction of some free services or sliding scale services. They are out there, they do exist, it’s finding them.

A free resource that can help locate the correct services needed in Massachusetts and in over 200 languages is the Mass Help Line which you can call or text at 833-773-2445, open 24/7. Accessing resources can be a daunting challenge especially when you’re already overwhelmed. However, finding “your people” is a great first step in taking care of you.

September 14, 2023
Suicide Prevention Month – Knowing the Warning Signs

Suicide Prevention Month begins September 1st of each year, yet it is always something that should be talked about. Here at the NAN Project with every school we go into and with every presentation given, we go over the steps on how to notice someone is struggling and what to do. Some of the examples students have cited as signs that someone is struggling with their mental health and may be considering suicide are:

  • Hygiene changes
  • Mood changes
  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep changes
  • Isolation
  • Giving away cherished items
  • Changes to physical appearance
  • Use of substances


You have the ability to help someone struggling, whether you are a professional mental health worker, student, teacher, friend, family member. The biggest way to help someone you know is struggling is to talk about it with that person, with a trusted adult, or with someone who has more knowledge on what steps to take. Did you know that “90% of suicides there is an underlying, treatable mental disorder”? That means there is help available, often times people struggle to know how to access that help. Some things you can do if you are struggling or if you know someone struggling:


  • Go to trusted adult
  • Seek advice on services (guidance counselor, school nurse, police station, crisis text or phone line, local emergency room)
  • Listen to the person struggling/be there for them


“Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks after them in a caring way. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal ideation.”

Resources for Suicide Prevention

CDC National HIV and AIDS Hotline
(800) 232-4636

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
(800) 422-4453

Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741

Disaster Distress Helpline Online Peer Support Communities

Disaster Distress Helpline Videophone for American Sign Language Users (PDF, 180KB)

National Eating Disorders Association

National Grad Crisis Line
(877) 472-3457

National Sexual Assault Hotline
(800) 656-4673

National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
988  Chat online

National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (options for deaf and hard of hearing)
For TTY Users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988
Chat online

Samaritans – Preventing Suicide, Providing Hope (samaritanshope.org)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline
(800) 662-4357

Teen Line Text 839863 or Call (800) 852-8336


LGBTQ Resources:

LGBT National Hotline (888) 843-4564

LGBT Youth Hotline (800) 246-7743

Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860)  

Trevor Project 

September 7, 2023
Back to School: A Guide for Educators on Mental Health

Educators are not mental health professionals, but that does not mean they should not be mental health educated because: 

  • 1 in 6 American aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  • 50% of all mental health conditions begin by age 14
  • 50–80% of school-aged children do not receive the mental health care they need

Mental health issues in a student often do impact a students performance in school so teachers, principals, guidance counselors, paraprofessionals, spend a lot of time with students and are often the first to notice when something might be off. There are some telltale signs that something might be going on with a student with mental health issues. Some of those tell-tale signs are: 

  • Hygiene changes
  • Mood changes
  • Different circle of friends
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Isolation
  • Appetite changes
  • Withdrawal
  • Grade changes
  • Late assignments
  • Skipping classes


 There are also some not so subtle signs. Some students may appear overly happy, overly enthusiastic, perfectionist…those kids are often the ones that mental health issues are missed or not taken as seriously. All signs and symptoms of mental health should be taken seriously and directed towards the guidance counselor, adjustment counselor, school nurse, or principal.

Another really important part of mental health in schools is talking about it, not shying away from it, and promoting a safe space for students to share concerns with trusted adults. Someone within the school, most commonly the guidance counselors, know how to access the local crisis support and mental health services in the area. One way professionals can build skills and confidence discussing mental health with students would be by attending mental health training, learning, using, and teaching positive behaviors and decision making skills, encouraging other professionals to attend training..

There are lots of resources out there for teachers and other educators to learn more about mental health in students and how to become more confident in identifying it in students. Some of those resources which offer trainings, webinars, and  general information are: 


TheNANProject – Saving Lives One Story At a Time 

Professional & Emotional Development for Teachers – FuelEd (fueledschools.org) 

Student Mental Health Toolkit | Stigma-Free Society

For Educators | SAMHSA

August 25, 2023
Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are something a lot of people struggle with, they hear someone tell them to do it and it seems boring or hard or impossible. The key is finding a meditation or mindfulness practice that works for you. For some people that looks like listening to relaxing music, for others it means a bubble bath with candles, yoga, focused breathing, listening to a guided meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation. You might be wondering though, what does any of that actually do for me? With meditation you are slowing down and becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. That is the whole point…to slow down from your daily life and take some time to just be. 

Some tips on how to do that are to slow down and pay attention to your surroundings, your thoughts, feelings, all using your five senses. Accept any thought of feeling that may come up for what it is without question and focus on your breath. These steps are important in any kind of meditation you may choose to participate in. 

Meditation and mindfulness can be practiced on a daily basis, or weekly, or monthly. However you can fit it into your schedule with what works in your life.  Below are some tips for slipping it in when you simply do not have time. Practicing some kind of mindfulness and meditation is better than not doing it at all. If you’re having a hard time getting into it, start with once a week for 5 or 10 minutes, and build on that. There is no way to do it wrong, it is whatever and however you personally can slow down and observe.

Source: VeryWell Mind


According to the Mayo Clinic there are so many mental and physical health benefits to mindfulness and meditation including the reduction of

  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Asthma
  • Fibromyalgia symptoms
  • Improve attention
  • Decrease job burnout
  • Improve sleep
  • Improve diabetes control

Source: The Kewl Shop

August 18, 2023
Self Care…We ALL Need it!!

Whether you struggle with mental health or not, self care is such an important part of daily living. Self care offers every single person who partakes in it the chance to reset themselves, to do something they enjoy doing, something for them in a world where we are constantly giving and giving and giving to other people or other responsibilities.

Self care is different for everyone. What I might consider self care you might not, and that is okay. Self care is whatever you deem helpful for your mental and physical health. 

Here are some examples of self care:

going for a walk, reading a book, journaling, calling a friend or family member, taking a bath or a shower, spending time in nature, spending time with people you care about, playing with a pet, yoga, doing a puzzle, playing a video game, whatever you feel centers you. 

 Now while these are all self care aspects there’s also the aspect of just keeping up with your day to day hygiene, which can be a huge self care step for a lot of people,especially those struggling with mental health. Setting up a self-care routine can be a challenge. You have all of these ideas and it’s just figuring out how to implement them in your daily life. One thing I found works really well especially with kids, teens, and young adults is a self care bingo board.

Basically, you make a bingo board and fill it in with self care items. Then you aim to get a bingo every week. And maybe if you get a bingo, you get a bonus, self-care thing. Maybe it’s a coffee from Starbucks, maybe it’s going to a movie, going to your favorite park, or buying yourself something that you’ve really wanted, but that’s a way to help motivate you and loved ones to integrate self-care into your daily life. Some people schedule self care in their planners, some people set a certain time each day for self-care. However, you can figure out to implement self-care into at least if not a daily, a weekly routine is so important for your physical and mental well-being.  

 In the article How and Why to Practice Self Care put out by the Mental Health First-aid Organization they found studies showing that “Engaging in a self-care routine has been clinically proven to reduce or eliminate anxiety and depression, reduce stress, increase happiness, and more.” To me that sounds like something worth trying.

Here’s a handy checklist you can use to check in with yourself and your loved ones about mental health before the big return to school this fall:


August 11, 2023
A Re-Introduction to The NAN Project Blog

Welcome to the NAN Project

If you’re new here you might be wondering What is the NAN Project? The NAN Project came about following the tragic death of Nan, who took her own life after battling depression, anxiety, and OCD from a very young age and with very limited professional support. Nan’s family wanted to help young people feel less alone and less scared of speaking up. So they developed a peer to peer model to reach students, teachers, and emergency responders. The peer to peer model has young people with lived experience sharing their stories of mental health and shows that life can get better, with the hope to relate to young people. During presentations students are given resources and education on what to do if they or a friend is struggling.

Now that you know what the NAN project is all about we’d like to expand our messaging across social media.We have had social media accounts since the beginning, however with the onboarding of new staff we will be revamping all of our social media accounts. To do that we’ve put together a social media team, Shannon, Rachel, Kylee, and Fantasia (all pictured below!). They will be working to manage our blog, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Linkedin accounts. 

We have some ideas, but would love to hear from you guys and what you want to hear about. So if you have an idea please head over to our socials and send us a message or comment!

Until next week have a safe and peaceful week!


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thenanproject/


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_nan_project/


X (formerly Twitter lol): https://twitter.com/TheNANProject?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor


Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@the_nan_project?lang=en


Blog on website: https://www.thenanproject.org/blog/

June 2, 2023
Peer Mentor Aiden DeCaro collaborates with Amy Kerr on “I Am More Collection”

We are so excited to share a new piece in Amy Kerr’s “I Am More” collection made in collaboration with our Peer Mentor Aiden!

Even though it is not the case now, I am no stranger to feeling less than. A lifetime of dealing with the fallout of mental illness has left me with many moments I’ve felt hollow or broken. Now though, a few years into genuine recovery, I can finally say I know what it’s like to feel whole. It’s been a long journey with a lot of ups and downs that I’m still on today, but I can say with certainty that I have found hope and peace through my symptoms.
My first experience struggling with my mental health was in elementary school when I began feeling paralyzing stress that made it difficult to stay in class. Up until this point, I enjoyed school. I loved learning new things and was excited even then to attend college in what seemed like a lifetime away. Through school I discovered my passion for drawing and delighted in all opportunities it gave me to be creative. Art class was always the highlight of my week. Even with all that I liked about school, I began feeling sick during classes. Constant nausea followed me throughout social situations, a lead ball churning in my stomach and chest that left me scared and choking on my words. By 6th grade I was regularly attending therapy, where I learned that this feeling had a name: social anxiety.
My diagnosis left me conflicted. On one hand, it was a relief to know there was a reason I felt this way, that maybe it could be treated and I wouldn’t be stuck in this constant state of fight or flight forever. On the other, it felt sort of hopeless. I spent so much time trying to figure out what caused me to feel this way, and to find out that it was something inherent to me made me feel broken. I searched for the rationality behind it, only to learn that anxiety disorders are, by nature, often irrational. My anxiety did not listen to reason, even as it was named and attempted to be treated. Instead, it spiraled as my symptoms worsened into depression.
At age 12 I was hospitalized for the first time after expressing suicidal ideation to a school counselor. I felt overwhelmed by everything in my life to the point of wishing I could just disappear from it. This began years of being in and out of mental health counseling. Therapists, hospitals, and partial programs all began blurring together as I spent weeks at a time away from home and school. New diagnoses began cluttering paperwork handed from hospital to hospital. Generalized anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, and PTSD all became facets of my identity. Every treatment seemed to have merit for a short time, but almost all made little progress in alleviating my symptoms long-term.
In the uncertain gaps between treatments, my grades suffered and my mornings were almost always a struggle between my mom and I over whether I would get out of bed and attend school. When I did attend classes, I didn’t have trouble with academics, even acting as a tutor to younger students at one point. Even though I knew I was capable of passing, I began failing most of my classes as middle school progressed. Over and over my teachers would ask me with pity why I wasn’t applying myself, and over and over I felt I had no answer for them. I felt as though I was trapped in a fish bowl, my family and teachers standing outside and telling me to swim up as I just laid down and drowned. Accommodations were put in place but ultimately proved fruitless as I spent most days out of class, even on the ones I dragged myself to school.
Throughout all of this though, drawing remained a constant for me. Whether at home or using supplies that had to be locked up at the end of the night in hospitals, I would draw how I felt. At this time, much of my art felt dark. Everything in my life felt out of control, including my thoughts, but art gave me an outlet to express them healthily. Many of my drawings depicted figures adorned in pink and purple marker bruises, something I can now read into as expressing my feeling of being broken.
I felt like a wounded animal, one that not only stood no chance of keeping up with my peers but who also lashed out and behaved inappropriately out of fear. Frequent meltdowns made it hard to make friends and pushed me even further into the feeling of isolation as the gaps between hospital programs became shorter and shorter. At some points, I would spend more time away from home than in it.
All of this is to say, my permanent withdrawal from school at age 15 did not come as a surprise. Though still plagued by frequent panic attacks and depressive episodes, I was hopeful that without the stress of school I would finally be able to fully devote myself to treatment. It was around this time that I was able to name a source of grief that had been contributing to my instability for years: a period of grooming and sexual assault that had occurred when I was 13. A weight was lifted off my chest as I was finally able to receive trauma-specific therapy. For the first time, it felt that things were looking up, therapy was working and I began to enjoy parts of life again. Another source of hope was that soon I would be old enough to begin a program working towards my GED, a representation of a new beginning in my mind.
In March 2020, I turned 16 a week into lockdown. Cautious optimism toward a new beginning turned again into hopelessness as my GED program announced it would be fully closed until COVID-19 case numbers dropped. The last few months of my life had been spent at home, largely inside, and almost always alone. I didn’t mind this at first, especially when I was fresh out of school and didn’t have to deal with the associated social pressure. This isolation was intended to be temporary though, having a specific end that was not far out of reach. I was looking forward to the change that was coming in my life and was now being told that everything was going to remain as it had, friendless, isolated, and stuck. Long gone were the dreams of college that I had during my childhood, I was sure I had no future.
I spent New Year’s of 2021 three weeks into a month-long hospitalization after a suicide attempt. The alone time I had so desperately craved during my time in school proved itself hopeless rather than peaceful. I could not imagine my life moving forward and was resigned to feeling burdensome, friendless, and miserable. Even after my discharge that month, I felt unable to see a happy future. I would spend almost every night sneaking out of my house around midnight, feeling as though I would suffocate if I spent any more time inside. I would wander through the streets of my hometown, snow falling softly and silently around me. I wondered why I had spent so much time inside when there was so much beauty around me. I would sit on the docks and look out to the water, thinking for the first time, there is so much more than this.
The next day I attended a group at a local teen center, one that had recently reopened as the pandemic’s current effect began to lessen. Anxious and still contemplating this decision as I opened the door, I sat down and introduced myself. I did not expect this to be my new beginning, I had learned not to get my hopes up about things changing, but sometimes things change for the good as rapidly as they tend to devolve. I spent that night at the docks, snow still falling silently but this time it swirled around more than just myself. I was invited out by a group of teenagers my age who had known each other for far longer than I had kept any friends. We kept in touch over the coming months and for the first time in my life, I felt true belonging.
This belonging brought hope and change, a certainty that even if these friends weren’t forever, they were here now and they were out there. By definition, giving up hope makes it seem like finding hope will be much harder than it often is. I learned that there is always a path forward, there is always a new beginning, and that there truly is more out there than you may be expecting. I’m still close with the friends I made that day, and I will always be grateful for their role in teaching me this lesson. By the time my 17th birthday came that March, my life felt so distant from what it had been just a year ago. I spent that night sharing cake with my friends and feeling more grateful than they will ever know.
A lot has changed since that night when I first found true hope. Along with new social support, I’ve found meaningful treatment through therapy and medication that I consider life-saving. I’m 19 now and have since graduated from my GED program, even having the opportunity to present a speech at our graduation. I have since spent time interning at the same access center, YOUnity Drop In Center in Gloucester, MA, that completely changed my life just a few years ago, running therapeutic art groups for teenagers that I often saw a younger version of myself in. I’m proud to now work at a mental health awareness and suicide prevention organization, The NAN Project. There I use my lived experiences to help inspire middle and high schoolers through their own challenges. I am excited to begin my freshman year of college this fall, where I’ll be majoring in psychology. I have found purpose through helping others and hope to become a therapist and advocate for mental health community services to further this goal.
My passion for art has persisted as maybe the one true constant throughout my life, and I am happy to still be drawing and painting today. Even now I find it easier to express myself through creativity than anything else. Today my style is an amalgamation of every style it has taken to express my past emotions, as well as ones I find when navigating new ones.
It has taken a long time and a lot of pain to be where I am now, and I know I will never be completely rid of my symptoms, but I finally feel that I am so much more than my diagnoses and the years I spent battling them. I am more than the nights I spent hopeless and feeling trapped in my own head. I am more than I used to be because my experiences have built me into the person I am today. Through my past, I have learned compassion, determination, and a firm belief that there is always hope in dark times. I am a friend, a family member, a leader, an artist, and now strive to be a source of hope.
“Aiden” by Amy Kerr and Aiden DeCaro, 2023. Colored pencil and acrylic on paper, 24x34in.
May 23, 2023
TNP Provides New Student Supports


The NAN Project is proud to offer a new program to the community, SEL Circles (Social-Emotional Learning Circles). It is a six-week, in-school, curriculum-based program made for groups of up to 15 students. The program is supported by The NAN Project’s licensed mental health clinician/school counselor, Peer Coordinators, and Peer Mentors.

Sarojini Schutt, Peer Coordinator, facilitating a discussion at Galvin Middle School SEL Circles about managing peer conflict

SEL Circles were created due to community providers, educators, and parents noticing changes in the youth they serve–many are more anxious than prior to the pandemic, and have had trouble creating connections with their peers, and looking for programming that could be helpful.

Recent Statistics About Youth Mental Health:

Recent data supports what educators and caregivers have noticed. The CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey collects self-reported surveys from high school students across the United States every two years. The most recent data from 2021 shows that compared to 2019, more high school students are feeling sad or hopeless in a way that impairs their everyday activities (33.8% vs 38.5%), and more students seriously considered attempting suicide (17.5% vs 18.4%). Additionally, out of all US high school students surveyed in 2021, 29.3% reported their mental health was either not good most of the time or not good all of the time, and 38.5% reported they either didn’t feel close to people at their school or weren’t sure.

SEL Circles Curriculum:

SEL Circles are designed to help middle school- and high school-aged youth gain a greater understanding of the warning signs of mental health challenges, the supports that are available to them, ways to help a friend who may be struggling, and coping strategies to deal with their mental health. SEL Circles are not a substitute for or form of therapy. The goal of SEL Circles is to create a safe place where kids can gather and learn new skills related to emotional regulation, active listening, and coping strategies through a trauma-informed lens. By the end of the six week program, youth will have learned more about mental health and how to identify, communicate, and express emotions in a healthy way. The curriculum is offered in a format that is fun, educational, and appealing for students who can benefit from a little extra social-emotional support.

The topics covered in SEL Circles curriculum may include Orientation & Connection, Building Self-Esteem, Managing Reactions to Stress, Mindfulness, Active Listening, Bound

Galvin Middle School students participating in SEL Circles provided colorful feedback.

ary Setting/Managing Peer Conflict, and Reflection & Application. Educators and staff who would like to bring SEL Circles to their school will have the opportunity to discuss the needs of their students with The NAN Project’s School Counselor, Liza Tierney, and tailor the curriculum as needed.

Response From Students:

To date, The NAN Project has facilitated three cohorts of SEL Circles, at the Eliot Family Resource Center in Everett and at Galvin Middle School in Wakefield. The NAN Project staff collected survey data from SEL Circles participants on the first session and on the last session to learn more about what youth are taking away from sessions.

At Galvin Middle School before SEL Circles began, only 50% of the participants self-reported that they knew of coping skills to deal with difficult emotions. On the last day of the program, 80% of students either agreed or strongly agreed that they knew of coping skills to help with difficult emotions. There was also an increase in the pre- and post- survey data regarding the percentage of students who reported they had at least one adult they could speak to about a difficult situation (83% on the first day, compared to 100% on the last day).

When asked what they learned at SEL Circles, students said:

“Conflict doesn’t always have to be negative.”
“I learned good ways to cope with anger and stress”

On the most useful thing youth learned at SEL Circles:

“The 3 Rs [Regulation, Reflection, and Relaxation].”
“How to calm yourself and also that your [sic] not alone.”
“Learning about stress management.”
“That not being OK is OK when you ask for help.”
“I know many things to do when I am sad.”

This spring, The NAN Project is excited to be providing SEL Circles at Thurgood Marshall Middle School in Lynn and Phoenix Academy in Lawrence, in addition to continuing their partnership with Galvin Middle School. To discuss bringing SEL Circles to your school or community, email [email protected].

Our First College Peer Mentor Training & A Peer Mentor Update


Thanks to grant funding from the MA Department of Higher Education, we recently conducted our first college peer mentor training at Massasoit Community College (MCC) in Brockton, MA. This training not only marked a significant milestone for us, but also was a great success. With the collaboration of Violet Akoh, MCC’s Health & Wellness Coordinator, and the leadership of Erica Tangney, TNP’s College Outreach Coordinator, we engaged numerous students through on-campus outreach, ultimately training six new peer mentors. This partnership with Massasoit has opened doors for us to expand our programming into Massachusetts’ Southeast Region.

Successful Peer Mentor Training:

During the training at MCC, our team provided instruction on how to write a Comeback Story, enhance and practice their public speaking skills, and ways to safely speak to youth about mental health. By the end of training, each student had written a powerful story of lived experience. The NAN Project is immensely proud of these peer mentors and all the work they put into the training!

Peer Mentors and TNP Staff at Massasoit CC Training Graduation.

Continued Growth:

Following the training program at Massasoit CC, we have continued efforts to expand our network of peer mentors. An additional four peer mentors have completed our training and have already started attending presentations! We continually hire peer mentors on a rolling basis in order to bring as many presentations to students as possible.

Upcoming Training in Lynn, MA:

As we continue to expand our outreach efforts, we are excited to share that our staff is actively preparing for another training. This time, we will be hosting a training program in Lynn, MA over the summer. We have many community and school partners in the Greater Lynn area. By hiring more peer mentors, we hope to provide more robust programming to Lynn public schools and to strengthen these relationships.

Our Newest Peer Mentor Cohort and TNP Staff.

Final Thoughts:

We are so grateful for MCC and all the peer mentors who work with us. We look forward to holding many more peer mentor training opportunities in the community or in institutions of higher education! For information about our partnerships with colleges and universities, contact Erica at [email protected]. If you are interested in the peer mentor role, please contact Shilpa at sthirukkovalur@thenanproject.

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