Skyline introduces FutureVIEWS program

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Mental health education is on the rise at Skyline, as a new program called FutureVIEWS looks to collaboratively bridge community support programs in order to increase the preparation, engagement and readiness of students with emotional and/or mental health issues for higher education.

The Counseling department, DSPS, Workability, Psychological Services, and EOPS here at Skyline have come together to create and implement FutureVIEWS.

According to program coordinator Tarek Eljararri, this program will reach these goals in many ways: Strengthening the partnerships between support programs and services both on and off campus, establishing academic/vocational programming by developing a finely-tuned pathway to success for students with emotional and/or mental health issues based on their unique needs.

When asked what made him want to push for FutureVIEWS.

“I hatched the idea with a colleague of mine,” Eljararri said. “I wanted to extend a helping hand to those with mental health issues. Like people with depression, PTSD, autism and such.”

FutureVIEWS will create a support system to increase the likelihood of students with emotional and/or mental health issues enrolling and being successful in Skyline College. The program looks to support students outside of school as well.

Through community and campus collaborations, FutureVIEWS looks to establish a cohesive support framework for student academic and vocational success.

Eljarrari spoke on the challenges the program faces.

“Starting a program from scratch, establishing the structure of a program takes a long time,” Eljararri said. “Then we need a room reserved for the program. It all takes a long time, perseverance was needed.”

Participants will gain knowledge about more practical areas of college education. One such area is College Matriculation, by giving individualized support for entrance into community college and to a four-year university.

The program would aid in understanding of Financial Aid, by explaining the processes of acquiring financial support. Career Readiness is also part of the program, as specialized supports for vocational planning through academics.

Students seem glad that knowledge of practical areas is expanded.

“It is important too, for students to know their resources because this is a community college,” Kawiku Foronda said. “People coming out of high school also need to know.”

The program has a few longer term goals for mental well-being. One of these is to increase independent functioning using focused step-by-step skill building.

The program is also meant to increase self-esteem and reduce the stigma around mental health issues. Developing a peer support system and improving students’ sense of health and wellness are goals as well.

After two years of work, the program is now finally complete and will launch in mid September.

“It’s amazing to see that Skyline is establishing this program,” Skyline student Ryan Joe said. “My cousin suffers from PTSD from his time in the marines, so it means a lot to see that there is help for those who endure the same.”

The benefits of implementing FutureVIEWS include an increase in the likelihood of students with emotional and or mental health issues entering/re-entering Skyline College and utilizing campus and other community based support services.

Further, these partnerships will decrease the probability of students with emotional/mental health issues giving up on their educational and vocational aspirations.