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A free event in Elk Grove serves as a mental health check-in for teenagers. Here’s how to attend

Sacramento Bee - 2/21/2024

Youth in Elk Grove will have a chance to blow off some steam and vent during a mental health event this Saturday.

The City of Elk Grove’s Youth Commission is hosting its “Path to Positivity” event, inviting teenagers to have a discussion on the state of their mental health.

Femi Omotesho, a city administrative analyst, said in an email that it’s the second time hosting this event; the first was in May 2022. This year, she said, the motto for the event is: “Changing Lives, One Mind at a Time.”

The group will meet at Wackford Community Center’s Valley Oak Ballroom, 9014 Bruceville Road. The mental health event is free and open to teenagers ages 13 to 18.

“This event will help youths learn about mental health, develop coping skills, and connect with others,” Omotesho said. “It aims to positively impact our youth’s mental wellness and show them they are not alone.”

She added: “Also, let them know their well-being matters and that resources are available to help them thrive. Ultimately, it will be a safe environment where they can relax and feel free to be their authentic selves among their peers.”

According to 2023 U.S Census estimates, Elk Grove’s youth under age 18 made up 26% of the city’s population.

The Elk Grove Youth Commission is an advisory body to the Elk Grove City Council that represents the current needs and issues of the city’s youth. According to the city’s website, the commission regularly provides information and recommendations to improve the quality of life for Elk Grove’s youth.

Omotesho said the group’s event, Path to Positivity, is looking to destigmatize mental health in the teen population and raise awareness of the critical issue.

During the event, the youth commission plans to provide attendees with information and resources to improve their mental wellness. They will also participate in games, activities and hear testimonies from keynote guest speakers.

“They will learn about peer and self-advocacy and finding resources at school,” Omotesho said. “JJ’s Hope Foundation will be there to give support. Roman Musso, who started it all, will share his story with the youths. Elk Grove Animal Services (Comfort Club) will bring therapeutic animals, and resources will also be provided by A Seat at the Table and XHope. Cosumnes (Community Services District) is also collaborating with the Youth Commission for the event.”

The event, from noon to 4 p.m., will have food and music. Youth participants will also have the opportunity to earn community service hours by attending.

Youth attendees should RSVP online with their name, school, grade and email.

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