One of our amazing volunteer coordinators attended the Mental Health and Emotional Wellness meeting organized by the Jefferson Unitarian Church and has provided information for those of us who were not able to attend. Please review and share! Thanks to our SJK Superstars for their incredible efforts to bring every resource available into the hands of our community!
I was pleased to have the opportunity to attend The Mental Health and Emotional Wellness public meeting put on by the Jefferson Unitarian Church on Monday, March 13th. It was attended by many parents, teachers, principals, and mental health counselors from the Jeffco School district, as well as three of our school board members (Ali Lasell, Ron Mitchell, and Brad Rupert.)
We heard from Amy Hansen ( Jeffco Center for Mental Health, and John Widmier of Jeffco Public Schools about the different programs that are taking place in some or all of the district schools, including a discussion on terminology used with even our youngest students in helping them develop self-restraint, emotional maturity and social skills.
There were featured representatives from the Golden High School program Sources of Strength, or SOS, which was created in 2013 after 4 suicides in one year rocked the school and the community. I would love to know more about why this program, that sounds so positive and successful, is only being practiced in the one high school thus far, and what advocacy groups such as ours and community members could do to get that program expanded.
We also heard from Lisa Ritchey, principal at Lakewood High School about some of the mental health and “we are family” programs that are building a wonderful sense of community, and have taken them from being a less than desirable school, to a popular choice school in just a few years’ time.
Lastly, Ken Wiig, president of the board of The Second Wind Fund spoke of the work their program does, assisting schools in providing access and funding for counseling for at-risk youth with adequate insurance coverage.
All in all, it was a wonderful evening of sharing of information and resources, both inside and outside of the school district, several of which I will provide links to here.