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LET panelists discuss healthy approaches to post-high school pathways

LET Panel Discussion on March 25, 2024. Pictured (left to right): Brian Shea, Loren Baccari, Jemima Verdier, Michael DeMaesschalck, and Crystal Haynes. COURTESY PHOTO/NETWORK FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

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The following was submitted by the Network for Social Justice:

On Monday, March 25, the Leaders for an Equitable Tomorrow (LET) program welcomed teens, parents, and community members from Woburn and Winchester to a panel discussion on Healthy Approaches to Post-High School Pathways.

Hosted at the James L. McKeown Boys & Girls Club in Woburn, the panel provided valuable insights and strategies for maintaining positive mental well-being, achieving balance, and accessing effective support when navigating post-high school pathways.

The event moderator was Crystal Haynes, a two-time Emmy-nominated reporter, senior communications director of United Way of Massachusetts Bay, and the host of GBH’s “Greater Boston” and “Basic Black.”

The four guest panelists who shared their valuable insights on the various ways teens can navigate their post-graduation options were Brian Shea, senior associate director of service-learning and civic engagement at Bentley University; Jemima Verdier, a 2022 graduate of Woburn Memorial High School and a student at Suffolk University; Loren Baccari, school adjustment counselor at Woburn Memorial High School; and Michael DeMaesschalck, an electric vehicle battery engineer at Factorial Inc.

Throughout the event, the guest speakers delved into their personal journeys and post-high school thought processes. Some provided healthy tips on how to navigate the stresses related to college applications, while others shared helpful advice on how to navigate non-linear career paths.

The panelists emphasized the importance of following your passions, working hard to achieve your goals, and seizing opportunities. “Happiness should be the ultimate goal in life!" stated a student who shared their key takeaway from the event.

At the end of the panel discussion, the students took the initiative to connect with the panelists and ask additional questions to seek advice for their next steps after high school.

The LET program is a joint initiative of SCI and Network for Social Justice (NFSJ) that seeks to advance mental health awareness and engagement among youth within, and beyond, Winchester and Woburn through a focus on the intersection of mental health and social justice.

Funding for LET is provided by Winchester Hospital Community Benefits. The JLM Boys & Girls Club is joining SCI and NFSJ as partners for this important workshop.


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