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Featured Mini-Grantee | HuntersWorld

2024-06-08T18:47:16-04:00June 7th, 2024|

Teen Mentoring for Mental Wellness
At its core, HuntersWorld is a teen mentoring program – created and driven by teenagers to address the  unprecedented amount of pressure and stress facing young people today.  It was founded by Tracy Reinholt, a grieving mother whose son, Hunter, committed suicide in the spring of 2019.  This devastating experience inspired her to create a safe place where teens in crisis can come to interact and openly express their feelings.

“I truly believe that if he had found the space, the words, the vulnerability to discuss his challenges with his peers – he would have made a different choice that night, and he would still be here.  That’s why I founded #HuntersWorld – to keep other teens and their parents from suffering a similar fate.”

HuntersWorld provides a safe place, free of judgement, to talk and address mental health challenges with the support of peers and trained counselors.  Recent studies show peer monitoring has a measurable positive impact on self-esteem, building relationships with adults, and teens attitudes towards school, building a strong foundation throughout high school, college, and adulthood. During the school year, HuntersWorld hosts weekly meetings for high school students throughout Jersey City and surrounding areas.

+ HuntersWorld

HuntersWorld developed the Summer Mentor Training Program to provide teens with the tools they need to better manage and improve their mental and physical health. The program contributes to building a Culture of Health by instilling a skillset that benefits the individual teen and enables them to “pay it forward” amongst their peers, family and community.

This aligns with HealthierJC mental health priorities in a post-pandemic environment where approximately 1 in five teenagers suffer from a mental health disorder, most commonly depression and anxiety. Left unchecked, these mental health issues can lead teens down the road to making dangerous choices such as violence, substance abuse, even suicide.  HuntersWorld provides a teen mentoring approach that Jersey City youth can turn to for help, healing and personal growth. 

How was the Mini-Grant Used?

The HealthierJC mini-grant contributed to funding HuntersWorld 2023 Summer Mentor Training Program which taught teenagers the skills needed to better recognize, communicate and manage emotional and mental distress.  The program was conducted over five weeks where teens participated in a series of workshops, experiential activities and events.

Workshop topics included coping skills for conflict resolution, identifying and addressing mental health issues, dealing with depression and suicidal ideation, and strengthening teamwork, leadership, and communication skills.  Program events included a Mental Health Hike in collaboration with Team Wilderness, a Mentor Camping Trip, and screening of a short film produced by the Hudson County Youth Leadership Council.  Teen participants also organized several community events where they prepared food for the homeless, made bags of classroom essentials for Lincoln High School teens, and led a Jersey City neighborhood  trash cleanup day.

 The Summer Mentor Training Program was free for twenty-five minority boys and girls from low-income households.  Even though the participants were initially just a diverse bunch of young people, the program  helped foster both individual and group growth, as well as the deep connections and enduring relationships. 


Making a Difference…

“Today’s teens face myriad challenges that can adversely impact their mental and physical health.
HuntersWorld Summer Mentor Training program checked all HealthierJC’s boxes
when it comes to providing teens with a template for emotional well-being.”
— Maryanne Kelleher, Director, The Partnership for a HealthierJC.

Founder Tracy Reinholt said that in January, the organization reached its four-year anniversary.  “It’s a space for teens to talk about their emotions, acknowledge feelings, and learn how to express them to adults or to each other.”

My son, Hunter, was a compassionate human being.  “He had a hard time,” Reinholt said, “yet everyone else called to talk to him, and he always made them feel better.  But he was not good about doing that for himself.  I wish he’d found a safe place to talk and share his own feelings.”

For more information, visit HuntersWorld