Jared’s Fund offers summer funding for mental health projects, internships
Applications for the Jared’s Fund Youth Fellowship, paid summer fellowships for mental health projects or internships for recent or current Montclair High School students, are open through April 29.
The fellowship is for current juniors and seniors at the high school and those who have graduated within the past four years, according to a press release from Jared’s Fund. Applicants can apply as individuals or as part of a team of up to three people.
The fellowship was established in memory of Jared Zimmerman, who died on April 15, 2016, as a direct result of mental illness, the release said. Created in close coordination with Montclair High School and the Community Foundation of New Jersey, the fellowship supported the inaugural set of fellows in the summer of 2019.
Gabe and Brianna Zimmerman, Jared’s brother and sister, had significant roles in establishing the fund and serve on the 10-member advisory board that includes the family, medical professionals and educators, and friends of Jared, according to the release.
In 2022, the Jared’s Fund Youth Fellowship recognizes that there continue to be special needs to address the mental health consequences that will flow from the COVID-19 pandemic, the release said.
“Mental illness affects so many in our community, but because of stigma those who suffer are isolated and progress toward challenging this illness is far slower than it should be,” Jared’s mother, Jackie Baillargeon, said in the release. “We were moved to establish this fellowship out of the belief that from tragedy can come progress, and to do our part in conjunction with so many others to move the needle.”
Funding is available for two types of projects: work with nonprofits that are involved with mental health issues, and youth-created or identified projects that deal with mental illness, according to the release. Individuals or groups of up to three people can either develop a project of their own challenging mental health stigmas or work with a mental health-related nonprofit during the summer of 2022.
The application includes an outline of the project, the identification of a potential mentor to support the applicant(s) and project and selected other information. Because of the time frame for the selection process, all information must be submitted on or before the application deadline of April 29, the release said. There will be an interview with finalists, and notification of those selected will occur the week of May 23.
Past projects have ranged from scientific research to filmmaking, from working with local nonprofits to support for advocacy. Jared’s Fund encourages nonconventional approaches, the release said.
The fellowship provides each selected recipient or group with a $2,500 stipend for the six-week summer program. The program also supports a summer speaker series and training for the participants.
“Young people have immense insight and talents that are pivotal to ending the stigma associated with mental illness, and through this fellowship we hope to empower them and expedite all the change that is needed,” Jared’s father, Ken Zimmerman, said in the release.
The 2021 fellows were two individuals and two groups. One project introduced students to mindfulness and meditation. Another project connected good mental health hygiene with skateboarding via a short documentary called “Skate the Stigma.” The third project featured fellows working with middle school students alongside their mentor, Tracy Klingener from the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris, to talk about mental health and the importance of recognizing and acknowledging your feelings. The final project was the creation of a “meditation garden” to honor Jared’s life, at Montclair High School. The garden will be dedicated this spring.
The Jared’s Fund website provides details of the individuals and projects from past years.
For more information about the Jared’s Fund Youth Fellowship, including project guidelines and the program application itself, visit the Jared’s Fund website, jaredsfund.com, or contact Jared’s Fund Managing Director Beth Wilensky at email@example.com.