PUC Schools

You have a tight budget and kids with a lot of social and emotional needs. So what do you do to make sure students get the support they need?

This was exactly the situation that Christina Sartiaguda of Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC) Schools faced. This year, PUC interviewed 80 candidates for their 32 trainee positions. PUC has worked with universities including USC, Pepperdine, PGI, Pacific Oaks, Azusa Pacific, CSUN, LMU, Mount St. Mary’s, Notre Dame Academy and the Chicago School of Psychology. Sartiaguda says it can sometimes be tough for a smaller organization to bring in mental health services and they might have to contract out with bigger organizations or have a lot of limitations on exactly which students and families they serve.

“What’s wonderful about our program is that no child is turned away,” said Sartiaguda. Their services include individual counseling for students, as well as working with the families and offering a variety of groups around issues like self-esteem and divorce. Currently, 20-30% of students at each PUC School receive mental health services.