New Partnership Provides Financial Support for Student Mental Health
As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, Minneapolis College Foundation signed an agreement with TheNeedINDeed, a local nonprofit raising awareness of and financial support for the mental health needs of students.
The connection and idea for this partnership came from Biology Department Faculty, Renu Bhagat Kumar, Ph.D. who became involved with the organization through a free yoga class taught by its President, Sushumna Aggarwal. Through her conversations with Dean of Students and TRIO Director Becky Nordin, Kumar knew this kind of partnership would serve an important need at Minneapolis College, so she began reaching out across the College to connect the dots and make it happen.
The Minneapolis College Foundation was eager to support this initiative. The Foundation will manage funds raised and donated to the College over the next four years. Students will have access to these funds through Student Support Services.
“At the Minneapolis College Foundation, we are keenly aware of the importance of supporting the whole student,” said Beverly Wadsworth, Director of Advancement and the Minneapolis College Foundation. “That includes both academic and non-academic support. It all adds up to support a student’s success in and out of the classroom.” Wadsworth also noted that the funds will help students who experience a variety of barriers to accessing mental health services.
Service Comes Full Circle
A May art fair at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum that featured donated artwork by local artists generated additional funds for this initiative. Jennifer Malarski, Ph.D., a business department faculty member, promoted the opportunity to create a brochure/flyer for a fundraising initiative like the art fair to her class.
One student jumped at the chance to participate. Britannia Ramstrom created promotional flyers as a way to give back and hone her business skills. “Not only did TheNeedINDeed provide us with an opportunity to apply our education to gain work experience,” said Ramstrom, “but they provided us with a chance to help fellow students who are struggling.”
“Britannia created this beautiful flyer for the art fair,” said Kumar. “Service comes full circle. You are doing this for the students and at the same time, students have an opportunity to participate and give back. By having a table at the annual art fair, we were able to procure additional funds for the mental health support initiative.”
“In this partnership with Minneapolis College, we will address real mental health needs instead of just talking about it. We will start making an impact. We feel that good health — including mental health — is essential to studying, looking for jobs and having good relationships,” said Aggarwal.
Faculty and staff who know students who could benefit from this new partnership or students in need of this kind of support, should contact Student Support Services.