Jewish Federation of St. Louis is accepting applications for mini-grants for pilot projects that focus on building resilience and community connection among Jewish young adults during the pandemic and beyond.
“Mental health issues among young adults in the St. Louis Jewish community were already a concern before COVID hit, and the pandemic exacerbated them,” said Mindee Fredman, Federation’s vice president, Community Impact.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world have struggled with their mental health. Isolation, fear, and rapid change have all impacted individuals’ abilities to cope with both existing and newly emerging stressors.
Federation’s COVID-19 community needs assessments (available here) have shown that one group has particularly struggled: young adults ages 22-40. Brandeis University researchers also found last summer that young adults in the St. Louis Jewish community had more trouble coping with the psychological effects of the pandemic. This is true of this age group nationally during the pandemic, too.
Federation’s response to this identified need was to gather a roundtable of 26 leaders and stakeholders from across our Jewish community. The group was a mix of young adults, people who work with young adults, and people with professional mental healthcare expertise. They participated in a design-thinking process that centering the experiences and stories of young adults.
The group generated and refined ideas that could positively impact the long-term mental health and well-being of youngish adults in the region, and gathered feedback on the ideas from young Jewish adults who had been experiencing challenges with their well-being during the pandemic.
A full report about this planning process can be accessed on Federation’s community planning webpage.
This planning process resulted in strategies for a community-level response to this issue that focuses on building resilience and community connection among Jewish young adults during the pandemic and beyond. Federation has worked with the leadership of young adult- and mental health-focused organizations in our Jewish community to determine which of these strategies to pilot.
St. Louis-area tax-exempt Jewish organizations are eligible to apply. Any organization interested in applying should review the full guidelines here. The application will be available on Federation’s online application portal from Monday, Oct. 4, through Friday, Oct. 29.
Applications will be reviewed by a group composed of Federation’s Community Impact lay leaders and Community Impact staff. Mini-grant decisions will be communicated by Monday, Nov. 5, and pilot projects must be completed by the end of January.
To discuss questions or ideas, please contact Nava Kantor, Manager of Community Assessment & Planning (NKantor@JFedSTL.org, 314-448-6303).