Riverside, Calif. (July 19, 2019) – On July 1, 2019, the HERO program received good news. It had secured a $20,000 Kaiser Foundation Hospital grant to help continue its anti-bullying program for high school students in Riverside.
For Dr. Kristin Mauldin, director of the Master of Science Sport and Performance Psychology program at California Baptist University, the news came as a testament to the positive work CBU students had been conducting in support of the HERO program during the past academic year.
In the summer of 2018, Lynda Bailey, executive director of the Riverside Medical Clinic Charitable Foundation, approached Mauldin with the opportunity to facilitate portions of the HERO program, a brainchild of the foundation. Mauldin believed that her students could benefit from the program.
“One of the strengths of this program is that it takes individuals who can reach these high school students, has them teach them not only the subject matter but how to inspire their peers, then works with them as they implement this new knowledge,” said Mauldin, who oversees the master’s students participation in the program. “Thus, it really does teach the students how to 'fish,' not just giving them the 'fish.’”
“The ultimate goal of this opportunity is to create a long-term program in these schools that will become self-reliant and passed down from student to student, year-after-year,” Mauldin said.
Several CBU graduate students served as mentors at John W. North High School and Ramona High School, both in Riverside, during the past academic year. The students worked with high school counselors to create events, conferences and presentations that sought to prevent suicidal ideation and bullying.
Savannah Honarbakht, a Master of Science Sport and Performance Psychology student at CBU, said her classroom training helped in her mentor role.
“I was able to apply a lot from my training at CBU into this community outreach program,” Honarbakht said. “At North High School, our students experienced an untimely loss of one of their close classmates to gang violence. As mentors, we were able to be there for them and help them create a presentation on self-awareness to present to their peers so if they were to ever find themselves in a similar situation, they could be vigilant and avoid any unsafe situations.”
"Seeing their passion behind that presentation and how much they appreciated our helping hand within that project, made me really realize how much those kids relied on us as mentors,” Honarbakht said.
Jasmine Joann Johnson, who is scheduled to graduate during summer commencement at CBU, said she was thankful for the opportunity CBU provided in the community.
“I have always had a huge heart for helping others. I could not have discovered this program at any better time,” Johnson said. “I am very grateful to be a part of this program and all of the education, opportunities, memories and friends I have made along this journey. None of this would have been possible without Dr. Mauldin and the people that helped create and launch this program.”