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Jessica Mendez, LMSW, LSW
I was born in Queens, NY (Far Rockaway) where I lived until I was about 2 years old. I moved to the Bronx shortly thereafter, where I resided up until late 2020. My parents migrated to New York from Puerto Rico in their mid-twenties.
I’m a Latina of Puerto Rican heritage born and raised in New York. My family is from Loiza, an area of Puerto Rico rich in African-influenced culture and infused with African-Taino food and traditions.
I attended college at St. John’s University and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
I attended graduate school at Lehman College and graduated in 2012 with a Master’s degree in Social Work.
I went into the field of Social Work because I love helping others. I have a passion for helping individuals and groups marginalized by society. I have a good amount of professional experience working with children, youth and families in schools, non-profits, and in mental health private practice.
Some of my experience has been as a High School Parent Coordinator, also as an Academic Counselor and Internship Coordinator, through these roles I worked closely with high school students.
- I taught as a College Prep Instructor and later helped run a program as an Assistant Program Coordinator for middle school and high school students.
- I provided counseling to family’s and individuals as a Bilingual Preventive Social Worker providing casework and clinical counseling support to families referred to the program.
- I provided providing academic and mental health counseling as a Senior Youth Advocate Counselor.
- I currently work in NYC as a Program Supervisor and Mental Health Clinician. I provide direct support to the dyad particularly through individual counseling and play therapy. I conduct mental health screening and support secure attachment between parents and their infant/toddler 0-3 years of age.
- I am also a Therapist (Clinician) through their Early Intervention program providing ABA and Social Work services to infants/toddlers 0-3 years of age and their parent/caretaker.
I care about working with people of color (POC) because I care about fighting social justice and becoming an agent of change. Black people and other POC groups have a disproportionate low access to access to health care, employment, and more.
As a Social Worker my goal is for my practice to be rooted in anti-racism and compassionate care.
As an Afro-Latina I always knew I was different. Though my parents always made me feel beautiful I knew I didn’t quite fit the “ideal” of what a Latina looks like - colorism. You lack the “privilege” that lighter-skinned Latinx have. I was always made aware of that by kids and adults I encountered. Growing up, and even now as an adult, I’m judged because of my skin color. I countered that by embracing my culture and learning all I could about my family’s history. I now, with pride, embrace the label Afro-Latina. It’s who I am. It’s embracing my roots.
My clinical approach is Psychodynamic, Cognitive Behavioral, and Solution-Focused.
Clients experience me as someone who listens and not only hears. They find value in our interactions because I’m non-judgmental and compassionate. I walk alongside them providing the support they need to address their presenting issue. My ultimate goal is not to do the work for them but to contribute to positive outcomes through advocacy and concrete interventions.
A few unique things about me:
I love to create and have recently created my own design/crafting and décor business.
I’m also right-handed but I count money with my left hand. It’s the strangest thing!