The Thrive Center at Samohi

submission by smC2C
The Thrive Center at Samohi

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

Santa Monica Cradle to Career, led by City of Santa Monica in partnership with SMMUSD

Organization(s) website(s):

Organization(s) twitter handle(s):

Organization(s) facebook handle(s):

Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):


Collective impact coalition of community partners, school district & local government

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


Santa Monica Cradle to Career brings together educators, service providers, policy makers, and community members to implement coordinated strategies to help children and families in our community thrive.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


Teens are facing a mental health crisis due to a complex interplay of factors that takes many forms, including substance abuse, social isolation, depression, and suicidal ideation. The Thrive Center at Santa Monica High School will tackle the crisis head-on through coordinated wellbeing services and positive psychology. This next generation school-based health center will be a place where teens learn how to do more than just survive - they will find the support and tools needed to thrive.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

(e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County):

Santa Monica High School, SMMUSD, Santa Monica

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):


Track impact

How will your proposal improve the following “Live” metrics? (check all that apply)

Access to healthy food

Healthcare access

Exposure to air toxins

Number of households below the self-sufficiency index

Percent of imported water

Obesity rates

Housing affordability

Rates of homelessness

Walk/bike/transit score

Acres and miles of polluted waterways

Rates of mental illness

Prevalence of adverse childhood experiences (Dream Metric)

Percentage of LA communities that are resilient (Dream Metric)

Percentage of residents receiving coordinated healthcare services (Dream Metric)

Percentage of tree canopy cover (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the healthiest place to live.


As a regional Title 1 school, Samohi serves a diverse population of 3,100 students from a wide range of cultures, backgrounds, and households. Samohi is also at the frontline of an unprecedented adolescent mental health crisis experienced locally, regionally, and nationally. According to Centers for Disease Control, 20% of American children ages 3-17 have a mental health issue, a rate that has steadily increased since 1994, with suicide as the leading cause of death among this age group in 2014. Regionally, over 16% of youth in LA County suffer from emotional and mental health problems, with 32% of 7th-12th graders reporting depressive feelings and nearly 20% experiencing suicidal thoughts (UCLA Center for Policy & Research). In our own backyard, we have found shockingly high rates of substance abuse, depression, social isolation, and thoughts of suicide among Santa Monica high school students that exceed regional averages.

Adolescent mental and behavioral health issues stem from a complex interplay of factors. Reliance on traditional clinical approaches to address this crisis is not getting the job done. Santa Monica will become the first city and school district in LA County to create a center providing coordinated services focused on youth wellbeing. The Thrive Center at Samohi will not be your typical school-based health center. It will be more than a dingy office with a bowl of condoms, a nurse, and some DARE posters. The Thrive Center at Samohi will be a vibrant space putting cutting-edge wellbeing research into practice. Youth will learn strategies to address the full spectrum of factors influencing their personal wellbeing, both in the immediate and long-term. Co-created with students, activities will focus on both mental and physical health, including stress management, building connections with others, and other wellbeing-boosters. This will serve as the foundation for lifelong empowerment to better understand and take charge of improving one’s personal wellbeing. The Thrive Center at Samohi will be a key component in a suite of collective impact strategies to actively improve the health and wellbeing of our community’s most valuable resource: our youth.

Mental health issues impact communities regardless of background, economics, or other demographic characteristics. What we learn in Santa Monica will be open and scalable to communities throughout Los Angeles dealing with this adolescent mental and behavioral health crisis.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


The Thrive Center at Samohi was conceived as part of a suite of strategies to address critical challenges faced by people in our community. These challenges were identified through development of a broad definition of wellbeing first as part of our youth-focused Santa Monica Cradle to Career Initiative and then scaled to the community at large through our award-winning Wellbeing Project. Based on these definitions, we developed mechanisms to measure levels of wellbeing in our community. The Youth Wellbeing Report Card, released in 2012 and updated in 2014, revealed striking baseline findings about the state of mental health and rate of substance abuse among our children, especially among high school students. Success of the Thrive Center will be measured in both micro and macro terms - outputs like rate of use, clinical contact hours, number of faculty trained, as well as moving the dial on adolescent mental health and substance abuse rates as shown in the youth wellbeing report card.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

4 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

Long overdue and absolutely necessary. Thank you for your efforts.

by smcloughlin
5 months ago

I have experienced classrooms and college & career offices that have benefited students greatly by allowing them to hang out together and explore options. Your project seems to take this a step further by providing support to those who need it most. It seems elegant in its simplicity, easy to replicate and useful to track.

by GreggHeacock
5 months ago

This would be a wonderful model to implement in schools nationwide.

by Josephine Miller
6 months ago

Yes it would! Thank you for your support!

by smC2C
5 months ago

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015