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This reflective essay explores the intersection of undergraduate community psychology-based experiences and the urgent issue of youth mental health. Student reflections in the essay delve into the benefits of community psychology engagement for undergraduates, emphasizing critical thinking about social issues, increased awareness of inequities, and the cultivation of skills for advocating social change. It highlights the significance of experiential learning in translating theoretical knowledge into practical competence.
The essay describes the Research on Engagement, Adjustment, and Community Health (REACH) lab's initiative to address the youth mental health crisis in Trenton. Collaborating with UrbanPromise Trenton (UPT), the REACH lab created a wellness intervention program, incorporating Dr. Laurie Santos's "The Science of Well-Being" course framework, modified to suit the UPT context.
Reflecting on this experience, the essay underscores the significance of aligning community engagement with youth well-being, providing a framework for future endeavors. It offers insights into the role of undergraduate engagement in addressing critical social issues and nurturing socially responsible careers.