Student Wellness: Integrated Student Support Program
The Integrated Student Support program is part of an ongoing effort to improve the health and well-being of our most vulnerable students in the Enumclaw Plateau communities. Since October 2018, the Foundation has been working with Enumclaw and White River school districts to develop an Integrated Student Support (ISS) program within the region’s middle schools. Data supports that middle school is the earliest opportunity to most reliably identify student risk factors and make positive impact. These transitional years between elementary and high school are crucial to student success and overall wellness.
An ISS model, which integrates community supports to meet individual student needs as well as into the life of a school, can help our most at-risk students stay on a successful track. Schools are embracing Whole Child strategies, which call for schools to have greater alignment between education and health to improve each child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development. One way to support this goal is through the establishment of an Integrated Student Support program.
A Needs Assessment (LINK) was conducted in Fall 2018, which identified the two biggest areas of need in our middle schools: Mental Health Supports and a Community Mentor Program. With guidance from our Education Task Force and support from community partners, we have planned intervention programs to support these areas of need. Current interventions being piloted in our schools and community for the 2019-20 school year include a community mentoring program, parenting support groups and increasing access to in-school mental health services.
BIG BROTHERS, BIG SISTERS COMMUNITY MENTOR PROGRAM
We have partnered with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Puget Sound (LINK) to launch a volunteer community mentor program for middle school aged youth in the Enumclaw Plateau region. This organization has been in the Puget Sound for more than 60 years, and is the nation’s largest volunteer supported mentoring network. Their mission is to create and support one-on-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise in youth. Community volunteer mentors are carefully matched with children based on mutual interests after a thorough interview process, setting up each match for long term success.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters is an evidence based program, and has shown measurable outcomes in the areas of academic achievement, social emotional skills and avoidance of risky behaviors.
- 76% of BBBS youth improve their performance in school.
- 96% of BBBS youth show an improvement in self- esteem.
- 93% of BBBS youth avoided alcohol and drugs.
- And 88% of BBBS youth plan to go to college.
Interested in becoming a mentor?
In order to establish a strong program in our community, we need help from the community! We are recruiting volunteer mentors who love working with youth and have about 4 hours a month of their time to give. Mentors can meet anytime with their match anytime, coordinating directly with their parents. Usually mentors will meet with youth outside of school, at a time they choose, and the activities are totally up to them! Another option is to meet at school, during lunch for example, when coordinated with and approved by the school and parents. Volunteer mentors are supported by a Big Brothers Big Sisters program coordinator to provide mentor training, coaching, resources and ongoing guidance. Businesses and organizations have also partnered with this program as a part of their community services or giving programs, allowing employees time off to mentor youth. This is an amazing opportunity to seriously impact the lives of youth in our community. Visit www.inspirebig.org/volunteer to start the process and make a BIG impact on a child’s life!
Middle School Parent Discussion Groups
We have partnered with NEXUS Youth & Families, Enumclaw Library, Buckley Library, Enumclaw School District & White River School District to offer discussion groups for parents and caregivers of middle school students. Explore topics that are important to you and your teens! Professional counselors from the NEXUS Youth and Families Enumclaw branch will facilitate discussions on topics like boundary setting and increased independence, defiance, communication techniques, navigating school and community resources, risky behaviors, anxiety and depression, self-esteem, coping with stress, adolescent brain development and more. Discover resources, learn techniques and find peer support. Walk-ins welcome for this free discussion group. Join anytime! Email gretah@rfwellnessfoundation for more details.
Questions, ideas or need more information? Contact ISS Planning Coordinator Greta Huntley at 425-681-5224 or email email@example.com.