Cuesta College’s Wellness Arts Program Coordinator Kelsey Kehoe was recently honored by the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation with the Paul Wolff Accessibility Advocacy Award. The award is given out annually to an individual, business and organization within San Luis Obispo County for exemplary contributions toward the creation of a barrier-free community for people with disabilities. Kehoe, a Los Osos resident, is credited with developing and expanding mental health services on the Cuesta College campus through her work with the college’s Workforce Economic Development & Community Programs Department.

“I am honored and humbled by this recognition,” said Kehoe. “I would not be able to do the work I do without the collaborative support from Cuesta College and the support of community agencies like Transitions Mental Health Association and the Peer Advisory and Advocacy Team. And I am lucky to work with students who make my job a joy every day with their compassion, acceptance, courage and strength.”

“Kelsey is able to utilize her talent as a therapist and her teaching abilities to connect with students and unlock their potential,” said Cuesta College’s Dean of Business Education Workforce Economic Development Community Programs John Cascamo.

Over the past two years, Kehoe has been implementing and coordinating two mental health grants - “Creating Spaces: Understanding Students with Mental Health Challenges,” a student mental health grant that Cuesta College was awarded by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and “Wellness Arts,” a grant through San Luis Obispo County Behavioral Health.  The programs resulting from the grant, which include a Wellness Arts course and Active Minds student club, reach specific at-risk or underserved populations including veterans, foster youth, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA) and low-income/low-readiness students.  Kehoe has been instrumental in linking Cuesta College with statewide funds through the California Mental Health Services Authority’s (CalMHSA) Mental Health in the Schools initiative.  She has developed and implemented training to educate faculty and staff in the best ways to approach a student who may be suffering from mental health problems. 

In addition to the Paul Wolff Accessibility Advocacy Award, Kehoe received the following recognitions:

Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from the United States Congress

Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate

Certificate of Recognition from the CA State Assembly

Certificate of Appreciation from the County of San Luis Obispo


Lauren Milbourne / (805) 546-3108 / Email: Lauren_milbourne@cuesta.edu / Posted: 6/6/13