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Meet Alexandria Gamble of Wazo Connect in UCLA, Westwood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexandria Gamble.

Alexandria, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Wazo Connect started as a think tank in 2016 in efforts to find ways to make mental health support more accessible for UCLA students. We sought out advice from psychology professors and professionals to design our program. We have now been active for four years and continue to expand across the campus and the community. Our mission is to provide accessible mental health support for all.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the biggest struggles as a new club on campus was finding ways to recruit more mentees. Due to the stigma around mental health, it may be daunting for students to join as a mentee and receive support from our Wazo mentors, especially if they have not heard about our program. We do our best to promote our program to all UCLA students and find ways to increase community engagement. We host Wazo Wellness events that aim to educate and promote self-care, self-love, and independence for any student at UCLA. We have also increased our presence on campus through direct outreach by flyering on Bruin Walk and tabling at mental health fairs and events.

Wazo Connect – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
In our program, you can join as a mentor or mentee. Mentees are students who might feel stressed, overwhelmed or alone. They can join anytime and are matched to a mentor with the same interests, backgrounds, and identities within one week. Mentors must go through an interview process and are required to receive trainings involving mentorship, suicide prevention, distressed and distressing students, and sexual violence. They are then paired with a mentee and meet for a six-week program centered around the mentees goals and obstacles. Our program is different because we are students helping other students. We understand what students are going through because we have probably gone through something similar. We are not clinically trained psychologists, and we do not befriend our mentees, but we do listen, validate, and help our mentees get to a better place than they were when they first applied to our program.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success, to me is a state of reaching a self-defining goal. Whether it be a career or a skill, success is the realization of some goal-driven by perseverance, determination, and resilience. I know I have succeeded when my plans that were once ideas in my head become reality right before my eyes.

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