The NBCC Foundation, an affiliate of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), recently selected University of New Mexico student Carolina Belmares Ortega for the NBCC Minority Fellowship Program-Youth (MFP-Y). As an NBCC MFP-Y Fellow, Ortega receives funding and training to support her education and facilitate her service to underserved minority populations, with a specific focus on transition age youth (ages 16–25).

The NBCC MFP will distribute $5,000 to Ortega and the 39 other master’s-level counseling students selected to receive the fellowship award. Ortega is both a student and graduate of UNM, where she is pursuing a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. The target population she would like to serve upon graduation includes underserved, low-income, first-generation and primarily Hispanic high school students.

Using the funding of the NBCC Minority Fellowship Program to pay for tuition and books, Ortega will be able to continue her service to others even as a student. Currently, her service goals as a student are to continue working toward empowering underrepresented high school students preparing for higher education through teaching, workshop facilitation, student support and research.

The NBCC MFP-Y is made possible by a grant awarded to NBCC by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in September 2014. The Foundation is contracted by NBCC to administer the NBCC MFP-Y, as well as training and collaboration activities, such as webinars, that are open to all National Certified Counselors (NCCs).

The goal of the program is to reduce health disparities and improve behavioral health care outcomes for racially and ethnically diverse populations by increasing the available number of culturally competent behavioral health professionals.

The Foundation plans to open the next NBCC MFP-Y application period in September 2015.

To learn more, visit: NBCC MFP.