Fill the gaps, all our youth deserve to thrive!

SEWI places master’s level social work interns (MSW) in Los Angeles County; primarily schools and afterschool programs to provide mental health services, crisis intervention, group counseling, staff training and social and emotional learning curriculum. Interns are supervised by full-time MSW or LCSW staff with backgrounds in mental health services specializing in the Solution Focused Therapy intervention model.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

Providing all students with a high-quality education and reducing the dropout rate require more than academic and economic resources. Students also require psychological resources, such as the belief that achievement is possible and the skills to persist in the face of challenge and failure. While many teachers know that social and emotional learning is important, schools have been primarily focused on teaching academic content such as math, science, and history and less intentional about supporting social and emotional skills that are important to learning and life success. Our MSW intern program complements school & after-school efforts to address mental health needs in under-resourced youth by providing wellness services to help youth thrive. SEWI also provides staff training and development to our partner sites on social & emotional programming to help staff better meet the ever changing needs of the youth at their organizations and support the work of the MSW interns.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

There is a growing body of research proving that social and emotional learning (SEL) is fundamental to academic success, and must be woven into the work of every teacher in every classroom and every after school and summer learning program, if we truly want to reduce high school dropout rates and prepare all our students for college and careers. SEWI understands that many schools are under-resourced and only have the capacity to meet the academic requirements. For many of the students that SEWI serves, they need someone that can help advocate for their learning and emotional needs. 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by the age of 14. (NAMI.org) Beyond short webinars or training, some teachers are ill prepared to provide social and emotional learning to their students at a meaningful level. SEWI has the resources, skills and proven outcomes to better engage students' social and emotional learning needs and in turn help to reduce dropout rates.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 300

Indirect Impact: 1,000

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

We partner with schools to serve youth that are primarily low income and on free and or reduced lunch. These young people often are unable to receive mental health service and additional school support. MSW interns run groups on topics ranging from friendship groups to coping with anxiety or depression. These groups offer youth the ability to connect with each other and create more inclusive and open school environments.“Youth who felt more connected to their school reported lower levels of depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, social anxiety... as well as higher levels of self-esteem.” (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) We also help promote school wellness activities across campus to build a larger community of wellness and support.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Our goal is for schools that partner with SEWI and implement the MSW intern program to have a steady decline in student drop out rates annually. To ensure our program is effective, we set requirements for our MSW interns to collect data in efforts to close service gaps and accurately fill the relevant needs in each community we serve. We work with school counselors and teachers to gather program referrals for the most vulnerable youth. We make our services available to all youth that need it by eliminating the barriers of transportation and payment so all youth can thrive in their school environment. We measure and evaluate success through our client documentation system (Salesforce), weekly reporting, and regular assessment of client functioning and perception of progress and client satisfaction surveys. In addition, SEWI will work with school personnel to gather data on absences, grades and dropout rates to adjust programming as necessary and meet the needs of individual students who may be struggling.

Which of the LEARN metrics will your submission impact?​

Suspension and expulsion rates

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings

Communications support

Office space for meetings, events, or for staff

Strategy assistance and implementation