Model Giant Josh Chan works hard to improve mental health at Redwood

Nina Geoghegan

Nina Geoghegan
CHAN SMILES IN front of the club’s agenda for the day

High school is a busy time for most students, struggling to balance school, sports, and social life. With so much to do and so little time, it can easily become overwhelming. However, Redwood senior and Associate Student Body (ASB) president Josh Chan has challenged these limits by keeping his plate notably full of both academics and good deeds. 

To start, Chan is not only ASB president but also an active member of Redwood’s Mock Trial club and hopes to pursue a career in law and politics in his future. In addition, Chan is the president and founder of Redwood’s Mental Health Awareness Club (MHA). 

Chan founded MHA around one year ago, with a few other classmates, after it was discovered how mental health had been affecting Marin. During a group research project, Chan and his partners studied teenage depression in Marin County and decided that action needed to be taken outside of the classroom.

Coinciding with the club’s creation, budget cuts threatened layoffs for a large number of the therapists in the Tam Union High School District (TUHSD). According to Chan, the therapists and counselors on campus are an important feature of school life, seeing as they currently treat around five-hundred TUHSD students. 

“[MHA] sent dozens of students [to board meetings regarding the budget cuts] to voice our opinions about how we should keep the therapists on campus,” said Chan. 

About a week after the club’s plea, their work paid off and the TUHSD board went back on their decision to downsize the number of counselors at schools.

Fellow classmate and MHA club vice president and cofounder, Collin Trauner, commented on Chan’s very driven and motivated personality. Trauner’s words conveyed Chan’s exceptional leadership and how it guides the club into being a comfortable place to discuss mental wellness issues and make progress in reaching solutions. 

“[Chan] wants to make the world a better place and help people who are struggling,” Trauner said. 

“We have this amazing resource [the Wellness Center] and not everybody’s using it,” Trauner said. Trauner also described Chan’s work as a way to assist people in feeling more comfortable getting help.

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Nina Geoghegan
CHAN AND COPRESIDENT Colin Trauner sit together at the meeting

Club advisor and therapist at the Wellness Center Jen Kenny-Baum first met Chan around February of last year when he began researching mental health for the project that would later inspire him to start MHA. Kenny-Baum was also amazed with Chan’s efforts within the Redwood community.

“The thing that impresses me most about [Chan] is that he’s very action-oriented. He’s really interested in the why, but then really follows it up with ‘What can we do, what can we do that’s tangible, what can we change and do right now?’” Kenny-Baum said.

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Nina Geoghegan
CHAN DISCUSSES MENTAL health at Redwood during a club meeting

Kenny-Baum also mentioned that after Chan’s appearance at the board meeting on budget cuts, funding reduction dropped from fifty percent to around twenty percent.

Despite these motivating achievements, managing all this work proves to be arduous at times.

“It’s actually pretty difficult, especially on Thursdays because Thursdays are both my ASB meetings and my Mental Health Awareness Club meetings,” said Chan. 

Nonetheless, Chan manages due to his enjoyment of the activities. 

“[MHA club and being ASB president] are two things that I love to do, so it really isn’t that big of a hassle for me,” said Chan.

Chan’s incredible involvement in the community doesn’t end there. The senior just recently wrapped up a new project. Chan fundraised for Family House SF, a non-profit organization that provides temporary housing for seriously ill children. Through Chan’s efforts, Redwood managed to collect a total of over two-thousand five-hundred dollars in donations. Chan thanked those who donated to Family House SF by getting his head shaved for all to see.  

If you are interested in joining the Mental Health Awareness Club, meetings are in Room 157 on Thursdays at lunch.