Fostering Mental Health and Connection at Boys & Girls of Grand Rapids

Sep 5, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

Meet Bethany Czerny, a passionate Mental Health Specialist at Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids.

As one of our Master of Social Work interns, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role, dedicating herself to supporting the well-being of the children in her care at the Steil Club. With her educational background and professional experience, Bethany is equipped with a deep understanding of mental health dynamics and effective intervention strategies.

Each morning, Bethany starts the day on a positive note by riding her bike to work. The fresh air and physical activity help set the right tone for the day. As she arrives at the Club, she is greeted with buzzing energy of children and a sense of purpose.

After settling at her desk, Bethany takes a moment to review her schedule and notes for the day, while enjoying a quick breakfast. Her responsibilities involve meeting with Club members individually for case management or in groups for group sessions. These sessions allow her to connect with the children and provide much-needed support.

Throughout the day, Bethany is available for any member who needs a safe space to work through their big emotions or take a break from the busy Club. The cool-down corners offer a space for members to check in with how they are feeling, pick a tool to help them regulate, and learn new coping skills.

As the morning progresses, Bethany makes her rounds to different Program Centers around the Club. Checking in with the kids ensures they feel seen and heard, which is essential for their emotional well-being. Her approach goes beyond just addressing immediate concerns; she focuses on building meaningful connections with Club members and creating a nurturing environment by playing games, reading, or making art together

Lunchtime brings an opportunity for Bethany to further support kids who might feel overwhelmed in the busy gym area. Two children in particular, find comfort in her company during lunch. They bond over a game of chess, which serves as a recreational outlet and a therapeutic tool for emotional regulation.

Following lunch and announcements, the kids engage in group games at the gym, which can be the most intense part of the day. Bethany keeps a watchful eye, ensuring that everyone feels included and supported. Sometimes, a few kids may need a moment at the cool-down-corner or require one-on-one attention. Bethany promptly steps in, offering comfort and guidance as needed.

As the afternoon unfolds, Bethany holds meetings with the Case Management kids or conducts group sessions. These sessions create a safe space for children to express themselves, share their struggles, and gain valuable insights and coping strategies.

Before wrapping up the day, Bethany takes the time to jot down notes and reflections, helping her plan for the following day and ensure continuity in her support for the kids at the Club. Her dedication and passion significantly impact the mental health of the children we serve.

We are truly fortunate to have Bethany on our team. Bethany creates a powerful force of positive change in the lives of the children. Through her thoughtful interactions, genuine care, and creative activities, she fosters an environment where young minds can flourish. Bethany exemplifies the Club’s mission to inspire and enable young people to reach their full potential as responsible, caring, and productive citizens.

Please consider making a donation to Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids today and join us in making a positive impact on the lives of our Club members. Together, we can prioritize mental health and ensure that every child receives the support they need to thrive. By choosing to support the Be You Wellness program, you will play a crucial role in creating a secure and encouraging environment for all the children we serve. Your contribution will enable us to continue providing essential resources, conducting staff training, and acquiring materials for our Cool Down Corners.

The Be You Wellness program is made possible, in part, thanks to the generous support of The Meijer Foundation, The Doug Meijer Foundation, Steelcase Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, The Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation, The Hanover Foundation, the Children’s Foundation, and Kent County.