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San Diego Mural Speaks Volumes to Young Artists and YMCA Community

Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan helps to reduce mental health stigma for youth and find ways to build resilience through meaningful community-led resiliency projects.
Jackie Robinson YMCA Mural 01
Two youths from the Jackie Robinson YMCA begin their artistic work, painting a mural designed by local San Diego artist Raquel Rhone.

How do you help young people ages 13 to 22 build resiliency and collaboration skills?  You work with local community-based organizations to hold conversations with more than 200 diverse youth to learn how they interpret what resiliency means for them and how best to support their overall well-being.

That’s what Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan did in early 2020 (pre-pandemic) through its Community Resiliency Workgroup. The workgroup used what it learned from those conversations to develop approaches to reduce mental health stigma for youth and find ways to build resilience, promote collaboration, and support meaningful community-led resiliency projects.

“The results to date have been positive, and beautiful,” said Patricia Brown, community engagement manager, Community and Provider Engagement, Blue Shield Promise. The latest example is the new youth-painted mural at the Jackie Robinson YMCA teen center, completed in early March.

“This project brought together teens from different backgrounds, with unique personalities and diverse skill sets, to co-design an art mural in harmony. It has been amazing to see art bring them together, while positively impacting their health and well-being,” she said. The fifth mural created in San Diego is part of a larger art initiative of youth-led art projects and community murals that have reached more than 1,000 youth from historically marginalized backgrounds.

"Youth development is incredibly important to us at the YMCA and our teen center is a safe space for kids to gather with their peers after school to socialize and have fun," said Anna Arancibia, executive director of the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA. "It's great to see the kids get involved in this project and enjoy it. I’m proud of our teens for their commitment to the process, it helps them feel good and it positively benefits their mental health."

Local artist Raquel Rhone created the design and led the team of young people who painted the mural. “My passion is to create for my community a beautiful space to live and thrive, immortalize memories on canvas through portrait art, and create unique spaces of peace and inspiration,” she said.

The results for the youth who painted the mural and those who will now enjoy this art at the Jackie Robinson YMCA speak volumes.