Monthly Archives

March 2020

The Steve Fund Welcomes Sandra E. Timmons, Interim Executive Director

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Sandra joins the Steve Fund following a highly successful 16-year tenure as President of A Better Chance, a national nonprofit organization that places talented young people of color into the leadership pipeline.

Meet Sandra

The Steve Fund wishes our friend Anuja Khemka well as she steps into her important new role at Executive Director of Children’s Hope India. We thank her for her years of service and leadership to the Steve Fund and look forward to the wonderful things she will do in the future.

For Young Women of Color: Balancing High Expectations with Self-Care

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With the arrival of March, the Steve Fund observes Women’s History Month by shining a light on the accomplishments of women, and in particular young women of color.  It is indisputable that women of color in the U.S. and across the globe have reached the highest levels of achievement in many areas, including, but not limited to, business, media, sports, entertainment, healthcare, humanitarian efforts, and public service. From Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, to the dynamic young women of color elected to Congress in 2018, such as Representatives Lauren Underwood, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sharice Davids, women of color are making their marks.

As young women of color work hard to achieve excellence in the face of negative stereotypes stemming from sexism, racism, and xenophobia, there is a tendency among some to engage in perfectionism. This can lead to Superwoman Syndrome, when a woman feels that she has to go overboard to do everything at the highest level—as a career professional, a wife, a mother, a friend, a volunteer.  Setting unrealistically high expectations is a type of idealism which makes no room for missteps or bumps in the road.  This places excessive pressure on women and has a negative impact on mental health and emotional well-being, and young women of color are no exception.

In this moment, with the COVID-19 pandemic gripping the nation and the world, women will carry a heavy burden performing caregiving roles, as they commonly do, for those who are sick at home, for children home from school, and for seniors who are isolated.  Women who accept responsibility for looking after others during this public health crisis may heighten the demands they usually place on themselves.  These pressures added to baseline tendencies of going “above and beyond” to help others coupled with self-neglect can amount to overload and are a recipe for a superwoman who is worn out and drained.

The old saying, “the perfect is the enemy of the good,” applies here. While young women of color break through the glass ceiling and climb the ladder of success, it is important to remember the following tips to help maintain mental wellness on the way up:

  • Perfection is an elusive goal. Instead, focus on doing well and doing good.
  • Superwomen get super-exhausted. Balance your investment of time and effort between the workplace, school, family, friends, recreation, and reflection. Be conscious of your need for rest and rejuvenation.
  • Do, but don’t overdo. Resist the temptation to take on everything. Learn your limits and give yourself permission to selectively say no to requests.
  • When things don’t go as planned, go easy on yourself and let go of things you can’t control.
  • Find joy in your favorite activities and make a habit of celebrating your accomplishments.

Please join the Steve Fund in commemorating Women’s History Month and encouraging young women of color as they surmount barriers and set their sights on a bright future full of opportunity, advancement and quality of life.

Be well,

Annelle Primm, MD, MPH
Senior Medical Director
The Steve Fund

Maintaining Mental Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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The Steve Fund is aware of the impact that COVID-19 (coronavirus) is having on the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color, including adolescents, college students, and young adults and their families.  As our nation confronts this public health crisis, The Steve Fund is sharing information and tips to help young people and their caregivers cope and remain grounded in the midst of the challenge that coronavirus presents to our entire society.

Various measures are being employed to reduce the spread of coronavirus.  On an individual level, people can wash their hands frequently, refrain from touching their faces, avoid contact with sick people, and stay away from large gatherings to reduce their risk. Community leaders are quarantining people who have been exposed to or who test positive for coronavirus and cancelling events that bring together large numbers of people.  Closure of schools, colleges and universities and the transition to online learning will have a significant effect on students’ educational experiences, lifestyles, routines, and access to resources.

Given all of these changes, it is understandable that young people are expressing feelings of uncertainty, worry, fear, confusion, and disappointment.  The Steve Fund sees value in a public health approach to coronavirus and encourages young people and their families to take preventive measures and prepare themselves to be resilient during this trying time.  These are examples of adapting to change and coping with stress which are important aspects of mental health.  The following is a list of things young people and their families can do:

  • Create a sense of safety for yourself through a prevention approach.  Keep your hands clean using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.  Choose a hands-free greeting instead of a handshake.

  • Engage in self-care such as getting plenty of sleep.  This will help you stay calm and grounded.

  • Reduce media exposure if you find yourself on information overload which can trigger anxiety.

  • Think of others.  Focus on sharing information or resources with your fellow students, neighbors and friends who might need assistance with obtaining food and housing.

  • Stay connected with people and keep in touch with your networks.  Let people in your support system know if you need help. To access a culturally trained Crisis Text Line counselor, Text STEVE to 741741.

  • Remain reality based on coronavirus using trusted sources of accurate, up-to-date information such as:

The Steve Fund team wishes you and your family safety and calm during this difficult period and looks forward to the resolution of this crisis and a healthy future for our nation.

The Steve Fund Selected as Finalist For 2020 Change Maker Community Builder Award 

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The Child Mind Institute Change Maker Awards celebrate those who are raising awareness, improving care, and transforming how we treat mental health and learning disorders. Among this year’s honorees are actor and comedian, Bill Hader and designer, Kenneth Cole – both highly influential mental health advocates. Crowdsourced voting will determine the winner of the Community Builder Award.  Online voting is now open and will remain open through March 15.  Based on voting, one winner will be announced in late March to receive the award at the ceremony at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan on April 28, 2020.

Vote today!

Our Mission: Promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color