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Mental Health Awareness Month

A Year of Cultivating Hope

By Nadia Busekrus (Hood River, OR ’18-19), who serves as the Prevention and Community Outreach Educator at the Hood River County (OR) Prevention Department.

Nadia Busekrus (Hood River, OR ’18-’19) and her co-worker, Nubia, recruiting new club members at Hood River Valley High School.

On a snowy afternoon in late February, I found myself at my desk tearing up as I read statistics about youth mental health and suicide in Oregon. My heart ached as I read through data revealing that a growing number of middle and high schoolers in my service community were experiencing hopelessness, depression, and suicidal ideation. Then, a few days later, these statistics took on a face and a name during a group activity I was leading at one of our after-school programs. I currently serve as a JV AmeriCorps member at the Hood River County (OR) Prevention Department and my role is Prevention and Community Outreach Educator. I recently asked students during one of these group activities to go around and name some of the people we look up to and can rely on or talk to when we feel sad. One student, though, was not able to name a single caring adult in her life. This hit me deeply.

Having recently returned from our most recent JV AmeriCorps Retreat, which focused on social justice, I had been reflecting on the many privileges in my life. In particular, while growing up, I had several adults in my life who were there for me to listen to my fears and joys and to encourage me no matter what. Hearing my students’ stories opened my eyes to the fact that having mentors and caring adults – such an important protective factor against substance misuse and feeling of isolation or despair – is not a given.

Nadia Busekrus (Hood River, OR ’18-’19) and a group of community youth members playing “Table Tap” during the Wy’east Middle School Cares Week.  

At first, learning that almost 29% of the high schoolers and more than 30% of the middle school students I was encountering reported feeling “sad or hopeless almost every day for 2 or more weeks” [1] made me feel powerless. I envisioned a community where every student would feel loved and accepted and supported, but felt like I would have to come up with some cure-all program to do so. Where could I even begin?

St. Francis of Assisi is said to have stated, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” I can’t be a mentor to every young person in my community, but as a JV AmeriCorps member, I can be a caring adult for my Health Media Club students. I can ask them about their days and listen attentively, I can plan activities that would help them to identify their strengths and goals, I can ask them to share about what they are passionate about and grateful for, I can laugh at their jokes and play fun games with them. I realized that no single person can transform our community, but if I give 100% in my service then I am giving my best toward that vision I long to see.

[1] Oregon Health Authority. 2018. “Student Wellness Survey: 2018.”

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Upcoming Virtual Events

Application Office Hours

It’s less than one week until the first priority application deadline on January 11! Drop in any time to the Zoom link below to chat with the JVC Northwest Recruitment Team about questions you have regarding your application.

  • Fri., January 7 | 12pm – 3pm Pacific Time | Join here.

Zayna Abusada

JVC Northwest Recruiter

Zayna Abusada (Ashland, MT ’17-18, Anchorage, AK ’18-19) was most recently a JV in south-central Alaska serving with immigrant and refugee English-Language learners as the Academy for Citizenship and Civics Support Specialist with the Alaska Literacy Program (ALP) in Anchorage. Zayna first served with Indigenous students on the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Reservations. Originally from Iowa City, Iowa, Zayna went on to earn her undergraduate degree in History and Theological Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies at Saint Louis University.

Catch us at an event near you!

Event DateTimeSchoolEvent NameLocation
1/24/226:30pm-7:30pmSt. Mary’s of IndianaJustice Speaker SeriesRice Commons
1/25/225pm – 8pmUniversity of Notre DameSpring Career FairDahnke Ballroom in the Duncan Student Center
1/25/228pm-9pmUniversity of Notre DameDiversity Leadership Reception5th Floor, Duncan Student Center



Marquette University

Justice Speaker Series

2/1/223pm – 6pmU of Wisconsin-MadisonPublic Service FairGordon Dining and Event Center
2/2/223pm – 6pmLoyola University ChicagoHealthcare Career FairDamen Student Center
2/2/227pm-8pmLoyola University ChicagoJustice Speaker Series Damen Suite 217
2/2/22 John Carroll University“Discerning a Year of Service” session
2/3/224:30pm – 7:00pmJohn Carroll UniversityCareer Exploration Fair 
2/8/2212pm-1pm/2pm-4:30pmGeorgetown UniversityJustice Speaker Series and Office HoursSeminar Room 1, Cawley Career Education Center
2/8/2210am – 2pmSt. Bonaventure UniversityService Year Info Session and Drop-InCafe La Verna
2/9/2211am – 1pmCanisius College“Recruiters on Campus” tableGriff Center
2/10/2210am – 1pmSaint Joesph’s UniversityOn-Campus Career FairSJU Athletics Center
2/15/2212pm – 4pmManhattan CollegeSpring Career FairKelly Student Commons
2/15/223pm – 6pmMarquette UniversityCareers for the Common Good FairAlumni Memorial Union
2/16/2212pm – 4pmSaint Louis UniversitySpring Career Expo 
2/18/2212pm – 3pmCreighton UniversitySpring Career Fair