Meet Jake – Mental Health Coordinator

Jake has made it his mission to make an impact on mental health and change the way we look at it. After multiple suicide attempts and being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and psychosis, Jake looked to create new programs and spaces to help others not feel so alone. Jake received his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota in 2020. He works to actively change the stigma surrounding mental health through hosting the Destroying Depression podcast and co-founding the WeCan Movement. The WeCan Movement is a mental health organization that aims to bring programs and safe community spaces to young adults throughout South Dakota, building a network of supportive individuals.

“The hard part about mental health is when you struggle with it you believe truly that no one understands you. We hold these feelings in, in fear of not being heard. It’s up to us as leaders to create spaces and bring opportunities and hope to our youth struggling with these issues.  It’s my belief that the majority of lives would be saved if we had one person, we felt we could talk to.”

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The South Dakota Afterschool Network works to better our state and its communities by connecting providers, parents and policymakers with proven tools and resources to increase the quality of and access to out-of-school time programming for K-12 children and youth.

Afterschool is a lifeline that keeps youth safe, helps kids learn and grow, and provides parents the ability to work without worry. While South Dakota is home to more than 300 afterschool programs, the demand for programs exceeds available spaces. In fact, 1 in 3 South Dakota children (34 percent) who are not in an afterschool program would be enrolled if it were available. That’s more than 42,000 children who are missing out on opportunities to participate in programming that supports their development academically, socially and economically.

Afterschool can provide valuable opportunities for students to explore STEM, and we are here to help your program succeed in STEM Learning! From webinars and trainings to our signature TMC Trailers that bring turnkey STEM activities to your doorstep, our diverse collection of resources meets you and your students where you are and provides the support you need to deliver quality programming to your students at any age. 

The South Dakota Afterschool Network wanted to create a mapping tool to better understand the landscape of afterschool and summer programs available for children and families. From the initial launch of the new mapping tool, we have identified some startling findings.