We provide comprehensive mental health, family support, case management, parent education, violence prevention, youth leadership, direct client assistance, advocacy and consultation services to homeless children, youth and families in San Francisco.
Web Site www.hcnkids.org
Twelve-year-old Jay* was having problems in school. His teachers said the sixth grader was being bullied by other students, getting in fights and putting his head on his desk and refusing to work. The school social worker reached out to HCN to access culturally responsive care through HCN's new Ma'at program, which serves Black/African American families in San Francisco. Jay had experienced abuse and trauma, and recently come out as gay. The middle schooler was deeply depressed and admitted that he had thought about taking his own life.
At their first meeting, Jay announced to the HCN psychologist, "You're a black lady and black ladies can't be doctors." He said every doctor he’d met was a white man. The HCN clinician spent time getting to know the family, creating a judgement-free zone, and even sharing meals. Jay started to feel more secure and picture a future that was larger than what he had imagined was possible for himself and people who looked like him.
The HCN therapist met regularly with school staff and with Jay's father Sam*. She helped empower Sam with positive parenting strategies he could use at home. For example, now Sam helps Jay with journaling to improve his confidence to help him feel strong individually and as part of a family. Sam has been taking Jay shopping to help him express his individual style. Jay is more confident and participating in school.
"That is the power of Ma'at. Aligning Black therapists with Black children who crave genuine connection with providers who understand their cultural background is the heart of this Ma'at journey. We are more than just therapists." ~HCN Clinician
*Names changed to protect client privacy.