The Reflect Organization (Reflect) was founded in 2015 by current Executive Director Jared Fenton, who at the time was a student at the University of Pennsylvania. During Jared's first year of college, he would eat lunch every day with a new person who was sitting alone. Jared recalled that while these students were open to getting lunch with him, they were not open about who they truly were and what they were truly feeling.
Halfway through Jared's first year of college, a student in his class died by suicide. At the end of this same year, Jared found one of his closest friends in acute crisis. Jared provided crisis management support to his friend, who is alive and well today. As a result of these experiences, Jared recognized that the prevalence of loneliness, isolation, and masking was debilitating and harmful to the mental wellness of his fellow students. He wanted to do something about it.
A Civic Scholar, Jared had been selected to perform four years of preparation for and formal research into a community service topic of his choice. Jared chose to focus on college students' mental wellness. Ultimately, Jared produced the first-ever mixed-methods research examining the phenomenon of “Penn Face.” Grounded in this basis in research, Jared teamed up with some of the foremost experts on mental health in the country to found Reflect.
In 2015, the first program site of Reflect opened at the University of Pennsylvania, called Penn Reflect.
After CBS3 produced a special news segment about the impact of Penn Reflect on the mental wellness of students at the University of Pennsylvania, Jared was contacted by representatives from colleges and universities asking to start Reflect program sites at their own institutions.
Today, Reflect is a nationally recognized nonprofit, with program sites at multiple colleges and universities, dedicated to empowering students to foster a culture of authenticity, self-love, and allyship on campus.