Sources of Strength is a mental health awareness program that harnesses the power of peer social connections to prevent suicide and promote relationship-building between students and caring adults. One of the main pillars of the Sources of Strength program is the strength wheel, in which there are eight quadrants, each representing a strength we should lean into, grow and encourage in others. Those strengths are physical health, mental health, positive friends, family support, generosity, spirituality, mentors and healthy activities.
Barstow’s Sources of Strength student organization planned activities to engage our school and community in a fun way and to get students and staff talking about, engaging in and developing their strengths and connections to others. During the Sources of Strength week, each day focused on one of the strengths, in a variety of ways:
- Mentor Monday Students set up a station for peers to write thank you notes to faculty and staff upon morning arrival and were able to take photos with trusted adults in the Sources of Strength "photo booth."
- Mental Health Tuesday Students shared supportive positive affirmation stickers and candy with the student community upon morning arrival. Students were encouraged to wear green on this day for Mental Health Awareness month.
- Generosity Wednesday Students collected change on Wednesday, May 4, as a way of representing the strength of generosity (Give Change, Make Change). The change will be donated to the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Association. Students collected $432.65!
- Positive Friend Thursday Students made friendship bracelets with string, paracord, loom rubber bands and beads in the Commons areas during their mid-day flex time and took photo booth pictures with their positive friends.
- All Strengths Friday Friday was supposed to focus on physical health with Field Day, but we had to pivot with the weather, so we just celebrated all of the strengths with a culmination of all of the activities from the week.
Highlights throughout the week involved our peer leaders from the Sources of Strength program engaging with their friends and mentors in photos, celebrating and highlighting mental health awareness, raising money in the cold and the rain in the circle, seeing droves of students flocking to the tables to write cards for their faculty mentors and trusted adults and all of the fun and focus the students gave towards making all different kinds of friendship bracelets. Our students are impressive, empathetic, resourceful and engaging, and they are still young people, who need our support and understanding. It is a true gift to have this program at our school and have all of our school community benefit and take part in its mission which is spreading messages of hope, health and strength.