Pilar is our School-Based Youth Service Program (SBYSP) site director, and New Brunswick High School site manager. Pilar has been with PRAB in the SBYSP since 2009, and had previously worked with our partners, New Brunswick Tomorrow, in the same program before joining the PRAB team. She is a licensed mental health clinician, as well as a certified school counselor, and puts her skills to work each day as a program site manager.
Not only does Pilar serve within the largest SBYSP in the state, she supervises several youth programs, including the Youth Intervention Program and Bobadilla Soccer Academy. She also works with the Elementary School Managers who supervise the After School Programs, and the Artists Mentoring Against Racism, Drugs and Violence (AMARD+V) program. The Bobadilla Soccer Academy and AMARD+V programs engage the local New Brunswick school district youth for several weeks during the summer while school is out of session. Pilar and her staff are always busy making sure the youth of the city are active within their community, and making mental health a priority.
The SBYSP serves as a mental health respite for students and families in need. The program is run in the New Brunswick High School, and McKinley, Roosevelt, and Lord Stirling Elementary schools. Pilar and her staff regularly see students that struggle with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and those struggling with the traumas of immigrating to the United States and deportation. Working closely with the New Brunswick School District social workers, Pilar and her staff give students an opportunity to address their needs and assist them in developing skills to cope with mental health issues. The SBYSP also addresses a variety of topics through visual displays and information tables, ranging from employment and job preparation, to hygiene, teen dating violence, child abuse awareness and sexual education (which is only provided in the high school).
In the past year, Pilar, the LGBTQ+ Club, and Aracelis Montalvo, a mental health clinician in the High School, accomplished their mission to make all bathrooms in New Brunswick High School gender neutral. The Program hosts an open LGBTQ+ club for students that identify on that spectrum, and openly encourage students in the high school to join them if they feel comfortable doing so! This past school year, our high School SBYSP worked in collaboration with HighTops and Garden State Equality and GLSEN to host the 4th TransYouth Forum, which was an exceptional opportunity for the program to display all they have done in accommodating students who identify as LGBTQ+.
Without Pilar, her staff, the New Brunswick mental health clinicians and social workers, and the School-Based Youth Service Program, kids would not get the help they need to thrive and grow. Hundreds of kids and families have access to the services provided by PRAB’s youth services each year! If you are interested in contributing to the SBYSP, please donate at prab.org/donate. Pilar and her staff also hold food and coat drives, and are always looking for donations of prom dresses and accessories for students without access to those items. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on what PRAB does, and for SBYSP updates!