Spartanburg High School Interns at Connect Spartanburg

Helping Youths with Mental and Physical Health


Photo courtesy A. Beeson

Students interns from local high schools in their Connect Spartanburg shirts.

Caroline Colbath, Viking Voices Co-Editor

Connect Spartanburg is an adolescent health initiative of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare Foundation and promotes healthy choices and provides opportunities to Spartanburg youth. In order to become more connected with the community, Connect Spartanburg has taken on two interns from Spartanburg High School – Anna Beeson (10) and Zion Littlejohn (10).   

Littlejohn is passionate about the goals of Connect Spartanburg. 

At Connect Spartanburg, we create projects and goals for teens in all of Spartanburg. Connect is youth-led because teenagers will most likely listen to other teens about problems they go through,” Littlejohn said. “Mental health, getting sleep, eating breakfast and physical health are important because it’ll help you get better grades, increase your happiness and overall help you live a better and healthier life.” 

Connect Spartanburg not only focuses on physical health, but mental and emotional health as well. Erin Lyerly is a guidance counselor at Spartanburg High School and helps provide students with advice on personal and school related problems, including mental health.

“Mental health is a critical component of the overall health of teenagers, as well as people of all ages.  It can be overlooked, or considered as taboo to talk about in our society,” Lyerly said.  “But research tells us that 75% of mental challenges begin during teenage years.  Some teenagers may feel more comfortable talking to friends about their mental health.”

Connect Spartanburg is holding a conference on adolescent health in Aug. 2022. The conference will focus on topics concerning local teens in the Spartanburg area. Local and national experts will come together with the leaders of Connect Spartanburg in order to find programs and opportunities to improve adolescent health.  

Since Connect Spartanburg focuses on topics such as mental health, emotional health, healthy relationships, substance abuse and physical health, they are finding new opportunities to help adolescents become healthier and more active in their community.  

Anna Beeson was selected to be a Connect Spartanburg intern.

Zion Littlejohn and I are organizing a mental health campaign at the moment and are trying to get a mental health video approved by Dr. Jones to show to the school,” Beeson said. “We are making posters with little messages about mental health to put throughout Spartanburg High School. We also help with community events such as dance parties and things like that for kids around our age.”