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New grant helps students beyond the classroom

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Feb 01, 2021

Making College of Lake County (CLC) a student-ready college means setting up students for success in and out of the classroom. Part of that support includes mental and emotional well-being which the college accomplishes through its Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Thanks to a new $50,000 grant from the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County, CAPS will be able to reach more students through added programming. This also helps the foundation work towards its mission of improving access to health services for underserved residents of Lake County.

Graphic of human head outline with growing plant inside “They’re more than just students. They have a lot more going on in their lives outside of their academics,” said Director of CAPS Dr. Arellys Aguinaga. “They may have things going on at home. They may be employed. They may be parents. They may be struggling with their own mental health or that of a family member. Therefore, it’s important to look at their health from a holistic lens.” The funds directly support a full-time staff therapist and prevention specialist who acts as the CAPS outreach coordinator. This individual also helps provide a variety of therapies to include individual, group and virtual workshops, each with the goal of contributing to student’s academic, personal and professional success. Often students who seek out CAPS are not only motivated by academic stressors. In fact, Aguinaga says both CLC and national data show the two biggest issues facing college students are anxiety and depression, in that order.

“There are other elements on their plate impacting their lived experience, so we talk about how all of those influence their academics, but academics is not the number one stressor being reported,” said Aguinaga. “We develop treatment goals with our students. When they first meet with us, one of the topics we discuss is what they would like to work on in therapy. It is rewarding to see that students are reporting decreased levels of overall distress after seeking therapy.”

The virtual workshops are taking place approximately twice per week through the month of May and all currently enrolled CLC students are welcome. Pre-registration is required. See the workshop flier (PDF) for more information.

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.