A member of the ICJA Class of ’20, Josh Pogonitz spreads the light by being an advocate for Mental Health Awareness. After graduating from ICJA, Josh attended Yeshiva Torah V’Avodah; he’s now a full-time college student at Loyola University and spends his free time educating others, continuing work he began while he was still a student at ICJA.
In high school, Josh helped run mental health workshops, alongside ICJA alum Miriam Ament, founder and president of No Shame on U, working to educate students about mental health and destigmatize mental health illness. “I shared my mental health journey and struggles, as well as different coping mechanisms,” Josh explains. He was named “18 Under 18” while in high school, and developed a mental health education project as part of that program. Since graduating from ICJA, Josh has continued to advocate for mental health, writing articles and appearing on a podcast for Upward Community (formerly Madraigos Midwest).
Josh credits ICJA with helping to his advocacy work. “During our freshman year health day, Miriam Ament spoke,” he recalls; “I was inspired at the time and very enthusiastic.” Later on, after transitioning back to ICJA after spending time during his junior year in a mental health program, Josh found himself warmly supported by the ICJA community. “That enabled me to move forward with my life after the program, and in being a mental health advocate.”