St. David Schools in St. David, Arizona, have HOPE.
Coordinated by school nurse Melanie Larson, the program develops student Hope Squads within the middle school and senior high school. Hope Squad members are taught a curriculum with topics such as Suicide Warning Signs, How to Help a Friend, Setting Boundaries, Bullying, and more. These students then engage in activities within the school to encourage each other, help each other, and engage in healthy behaviors. Students have created Walls of Hope where they place words of encouragement on sticky notes for their peers to see. Students are actively reaching out to others in the school to get to know each other better and to lift each other up.
According to Mrs. Larson, St. David Schools are the only schools in Arizona with Hope Squads. She would love to see this program expand to other schools around the county. Way to go St. David Schools! It's great to see these students actively engaged in activities that bring HOPE and encouragement to their peers.
With funding from a grant from the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona, the St. David Schools began a new program this school year focused on suicide prevention and hope.