It’s Back to School Time….

College Student Crystal Underwood will serve as College Connection’s newest Peer Teacher’s Assistant.

Its August already. For some of us this means, just when we’ve started getting used to our summer routine it’s time for back to school planning. Whether you’re on summer break from college, starting college classes for the first time, or looking toward a second chance at earning your high school diploma or GED, wrapping up summer and prepping for the start of a new school year can feel overwhelming.

At Community Connection our programs and staff are here to help students manage this sense of overwhelm, particularly those living with mental health challenges, so they can reach their academic goals.

“Macy” is one such student. She’s a young adult gearing up for her first semester at Cabrillo College after recently earning her high school diploma. As a teen Macy dropped out of high school due to struggles with mental health symptoms, drug abuse and the instability of homelessness. A year ago, she made the brave choice to return to school to earn her high school diploma. Given her previous struggles she felt anxious and overwhelmed by the prospect.

Community Connection’s Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) program assisted her with enrolling in a program through the County Office of Education and provided a system of support to help her work through her fears. Ultimately, she found process easier than she expected and she thrived in the program, quickly completing all the coursework. In less than a year she walked away with her high school diploma. Macy was so buoyed by her success that she immediately transferred to our College Connection program and plans to start Cabrillo classes in the Fall.

Our College Connection program is conveniently located on the Cabrillo College campus, providing educational support services to individuals with mental health challenges. College Connection also offers a class called Transition to College, designed to help ease new Cabrillo students, who are living with mental health challenges, into the complicated and challenging life of college. This year College Connection will have a peer teacher’s assistant, Crystal Underwood, our PEI program assistant, who is also a student at Cabrillo and who took the Transition to College class herself.  At Community Connection, we know how important it is to provide peer support to individuals in mental health recovery and we’re so lucky to have Crystal supporting our students.

Speaking of big goals, one College Connection participant has just accomplished a very big goal. His mental health journey began years ago as a student at a university in Southern California when he had his first mental health crisis and was struggling with substance abuse. He quit school and after 4 years decided to give Cabrillo a try. He joined our College Connection program and enrolled in the Transition to College class. Fast forward 2 ½ years– he just graduated from Cabrillo and will transfer to UC Santa Cruz in the Fall. This student’s inspiring journey of recovery shows us that a mental health diagnosis does not define one’s potential and big goals are attainable.

If going back to school is your goal, It’s easy to get anxious and overwhelmed by everything you need to prepare for, but we’re here to help. Together, we can focus on success, one step at a time. The first thing to do is to call or email Community Connection’s Communications Manager to find out what program you might be eligible for to receive support accomplishing your educational goals:

Trea Robinson
Communications Manager
(831) 428-6977

Want to learn more about the variety of services offered through Community Connection? Visit our Community Connection webpages


Blog Post Written by Community Connection Communications Manager Trea Robinson. After many years supporting Community Connections PEI program, Trea has stepped into her new role as CC Communications Manager and is excited to heighten community awareness about the positive contributions made by those in our  mental health community. She firmly believes a mental health diagnosis does not define one’s potential.

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