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Fulfilling the Promise

Los Altos Hills residents Mary and Doug Scrivner have made a $1 million gift to create an endowment for El Camino Hospital’s adolescent mental health services and are challenging fellow community members to help fully fund the program.

“Although we do not have children of our own, we recognize that mental wellness and suicide issues for adolescents in our community are clear and massive,” says Mary, who serves on El Camino Hospital Foundation’s Philanthropy Council for Mental Health. “We believe deeply that those of us who have had much success should share our good fortune in a manner that supports the community. We chose ASPIRE, the adolescent mental health program, because we believe it will have the most impact.”

ASPIRE stands for After-School Program Interventions and Resiliency Education and is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It is an intensive outpatient therapy program for young people ages 13 to 17 who have significant anxiety or depression, and are at risk of harming themselves. Over the course of eight weeks, teens learn the skills needed to help them succeed in high school and in life: emotional regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness and mindfulness. Although ASPIRE primarily serves high schools in Mountain View and Los Gatos—in some cases for academic credit—many teens are referred from Palo Alto schools, and some come from as far away as Burlingame and Santa Cruz. There are often waiting lists.

The Scrivners’ gift, together with all other contributions to the ASPIRE endowment, will provide needed funding to improve, expand and extend the program’s reach so we can better meet the mental health needs of our community’s children, now and in the future. This includes adding additional tracks to accommodate growing demand, and expanding to serve middle school and community college students. “If we fulfill our promise at El Camino Hospital and as a community,” Mary says, “then adolescents can fulfill their promise in the sense of all they have to before to themselves, our community and the world.”

Help meet the Scrivners’ challenge to ensure that adolescents in our community have access to the mental healthcare they need and deserve. Donate online.

This article first appeared in the Summer 2015 edition of the El Camino Hospital Health Beat magazine.