What’s happening in Rainbow Schools?

Rainbow Schools score Wolves United grants to support student mental health

Barrydowne College and Jean Hanson Public School will receive funding from Wolves United. A partnership between Sudbury Wolves Sports and Entertainment and United Way Centraide North East Ontario, Wolves United supports youth-based mental health initiatives within the Greater Sudbury and Manitoulin districts.

Barrydowne College will receive $1,750 and Jean Hanson Public School will receive $5,000. All funds will be used to support student mental health initiatives in the respective schools. Representatives from both schools attended the funding announcement during the Sudbury Wolves game on Friday, December 14, 2018.

Barrydowne College is a re-engagement school in partnership with Cambrian College. The program is designed for students ages 18 to 20 who have not been successful in a regular secondary school, and want to complete their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

“Many of our students have come back to school while balancing dependent children, jobs, mental health concerns, addictions, poverty and a lack of proper housing,” says Barrydowne College Principal Susan Kett. “These can be barriers to academic success.”

The project “I AM, at BDC” will help 175 students in a variety of ways, including certificates of accomplishment and the creation of a success board to publicly celebrate student achievement.

Initiatives and workshops will focus on healthy strategies for coping, emotional self-regulation, and managing mental health. Students will participate in beading, baking, cooking, drum making, the making of medicine pouches and special field trips.

“At Barrydowne College, we want our students to feel safe, accepted and supported,” says Principal Susan Kett. “Through the ‘I AM, at BDC’ project, students will develop skills and build strategies to achieve academic success through regular attendance, credits and graduation.”

Jean Hanson Public School provides programming for students who have developmental disabilities through low student teacher ratios, specialized instructors, educational assistants, and focused teaching strategies.

“In the population that we serve, students can find themselves in challenging situations,” says Jean Hanson Public School Principal Patrick Hopkin. “It’s helpful for students to have tools to manage in any setting.”

School administrators will use the funds from Wolves United to host a series of well-being and mental health evenings for some 70 students and their parents/guardians. The events will take place one night per month, over a six-month period beginning in January.

From Indigenous cooking to board games, and healthy eating to yoga, the events will focus on activities that provide supports for students and their families to work together to build new life skills and strategies for healthy coping.

“It is our belief, as educators, that strategies to support mental health must go beyond classroom doors,” says Principal Patrick Hopkin. “Supporting the entire family is essential for meaningful, long-lasting change.”

He adds: “We want to expose students to supports available through the school and community that focus on skill building, self-confidence, anxiety and stress reduction, as well as nutrition and coping. Families will have the opportunity to spend time learning together in a safe and supportive environment.”

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Media Contact:

Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor,
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning,
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171 ext. 7217.