Camden Coalition's Take Back Our Health 2018

Camden Coalition's Take Back Our Health 2018

Camden Coalition of Healthcare providers partnered with Hopework's Healing 10 and the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ) to open a discussion around incarcerated youth and mental health in our community. 

On November 7, 2018 they held an event which invited local organizations and residents to listen to hear how the issue deeply effects us and especially the young people.  

Their goal was listed on papers that outlined what people can do to get involved and take action..."The goal of Take Back Our Health 2018 is to build support for public decision-makers to redirect funds from youth incarceration to community-based programs that truly serve the mental health needs of our young people and are accountable to oversight bodies that include community members." 

The event started off with some surprising statistics from James Williams who represented NJISJ; black kids are 30x more likely to get incarcerated and it cost $281,000 a year to incarcerate one child. 

It costs thousands of dollars a year to lock one child up, but think about what can be done with the money if we put it back into our community and used it to keep hundreds of kids out of trouble. Many speakers at the meeting urged adults especially counselors, teachers and law enforcement to not think about what is wrong with a kid, but what has happened or is currently happening to them.

Traumatic experiences and mental health was also discussed, children and adults alike are not being treated for the experiences they may have had living or growing up in Camden. They are never taught to cope with what they are seeing and this can have adverse effects; they can start acting out or doing things they normally would not do. One speaker discussed how PTSD is normalized in urban areas when it should not be; military soldiers are getting counseling, but these children are not. 

Speakers included James Williams (NJISJ), Charlene Newbill (Hopeworks Youth Healing Team Lead), Nyzia Easterling (Saving Grace), Charlie Vazquez (Camden Coalition program graduate), Joe Hejlek (Kipp Cooper Norcross Academy. Markieth Alvelo (Urban Promise student), and Kimberly Rhock (Youth Advocate Programs). The speakers included a mix of counselors, residents, students and other professions, all of them advocating for change. 

They urge people to get invloved and one of the many ways you can is to attend their next meeting on December 11th at 3:30 pm at the Rutgers Youth Success Center (Isabel Miller Community Center at 8th & Carl Miller Blvd, Camden, NJ) and discuss potential ways to fundraise. 

Below are pictures from the event!