The Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services (MHARS) Board of Lorain County received a record 14 grant proposals from local middle schools to bring the student-led “You Belong” program to their campuses for the 2019-2020 school year, and is honoring all 14 requests.
Four schools applied for the first time, including Avon Lake’s Learwood Middle School, Columbia Middle School, South Amherst Middle School and North Ridgeville Academic Center, according to a news release.
Funded by mini-grants from the MHARS Board, youth leaders and teacher mentors at each school propose school practices or policies to improve the sense of belonging and safety experienced by students, the release said.
“You Belong” was developed five years ago, with a pilot of just 61 student leaders across four schools.
Its goals are to promote positive school culture, increase connectedness and resilience among students, in order to improve overall health and buffer students from the development or exacerbation of mental health symptoms.
“I am already sensing the excitement and energy from our newly granted schools,” said Elizabeth Wolanski, director of Child and Adolescent Services with the MHARS Board. “The students and their adult supporters are ready to bring a youth-led component to their social and emotional programming.”
“The Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Services Board is seeing not only a record number of proposals for this middle-school program, but more requests for staff and student mental health education,” said Elaine Georgas, interim director. “We offer multiple well-researched curriculums on mental health for school personnel and students of all ages.”
The 14 awarded schools are:
• First year schools:
Learwood Middle School (Avon Lake City Schools)
Columbia Middle School (Columbia Local Schools)
South Amherst Middle School (Firelands Local Schools)
North Ridgeville Academic Center (North Ridgeville City Schools)
• Second year schools:
Avon Middle School (Avon Local Schools)
Durling Middle School (Clearview Local Schools)
•Third year school:
Keystone Middle School (Keystone Local Schools)
• Fourth year schools:
Eastern Heights Middle School (Elyria City Schools)
Langston Middle School (Oberlin City Schools)
Southview Middle School (Lorain City Schools)
• Fifth year schools:
General Johnnie Wilson Middle School (Lorain City Schools)
Longfellow Middle School (Lorain City Schools)
Midview Middle School (Midview Local Schools)
Brookside Middle School (Sheffield/Sheffield Lake City Schools)
The mission of the MHARS Board is to improve the well-being of our community by establishing and maintaining an effective, efficient and quality system of addiction and mental health services in Lorain County.
Residents will have access to the most progressive mental health and substance use disorder treatment, prevention and recovery support services available.
For more information, visit mharsloraincounty.org.