Blue Door now offers services at JD Center – Fort Bragg Advocate-News
During the troubling times of COVID, teens and young adults in Fort Bragg now have one more resource to rely on. Blue Door, a community service offering free and confidential health care, is now offered at the JD Center next to Fort Bragg High School every Wednesday beginning at 1:00 p.m. Blue Door is a program of Mendocino Coast Clinics, the local community health center whose mission is to build a healthy community by providing quality patient-centered health care to all coastal residents. Blue Door’s confidential services include birth control information, supplies, and behavioral health counseling. Blue Door’s expansion is part of the district’s ongoing effort to ensure students are as safe and supported as possible. Blue Door began to respond to an expressed need for accessible and confidential health care for teens and young adults. “It started as a community collaboration, and it continues to be a community collaboration,” said Stacy Pollina, reproductive health program manager at Mendocino Coast Clinics.
Blue Door’s expansion means even more growth potential. “Blue Door is part of the JD Center’s overall plan to be a hub that connects families to the resources they need,” Pollina said. On their first day of operation, Kei Velazquez, one of Blue Door’s medical providers, described his vision: “We want the process to be seamless: someone can be seen by a medical provider, talk to a counsel and participate in interactive art projects. We want to provide a safe space that offers tools to build self-esteem. Soon, Blue Door will offer family advocates, including the two recently hired bilingual liaisons by FBUSD, to help connect families with the support and services they need, such as food stamps and MediCal.”The new location makes it all possible,” Pollina said. “We’re excited to make Blue Door and its associated resources even more accessible to young people and their families.”
The entrance to the new Blue Door location has what you would expect of a clinic: a check-in counter, chairs to sit on while you wait. There are also a few rooms for exams or counseling sessions. However, to the right is a room you might not expect – a large room lit by two skylights on the high ceiling, an open door to let in a swath of sunshine and fresh air, and ornate walls of artwork created by a range of age groups in the community. Blue Door has partnered with FLOCKworks, a local non-profit organization supporting local collaborative arts initiatives, to create an inspiring and heartwarming space. “We hope to one day offer art workshops in this room, maybe even classes like sewing,” Velazquez said. “If nothing else, Blue Door will always be a safe place for teens and young adults.”