Local Organization Works To Keep High School Students Connected During Pandemic

Depression Rates On The Rise

A local organization is working to empower high school students during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the number of teenagers who've reported feeling depressed has gone up.

The goal of the PARTI Program is to help youth feel safe, supported and connected, which is even harder to do during the coronavirus pandemic, as many classrooms remain closed.

“Schools have been contacting us to say ‘hey, can you reach out to this particular student because we know that you work with them’,” said Winston Ashby, the Executive Director of the PARTI Program.

The organization has partnered with the Santa Clara County Office of Education, the California State Assembly, Youth Service America and the Commonwealth Club to help students.

“We know that young people, they don’t have the same environment when they go home,” Ashby said. “There might be more stress, there might be less support, and so, we just to try to have a conversation where we ask people, you know, ‘how are you doing’.”

One student said the PARTI Program gave her a chance to speak with school officials.

“There’s not really a way where we can communicate with adults and caring people in our lives during COVID-19, and Winston kind of did that for us, so it was really amazing,” she told KCBS Radio.

More than 40% of teenagers have reported having depression.