by: Eric M. Kussin

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24 January 2019

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Introducing #Samehere Schools K-12 Program

I checked the date – December of 2017 (if you look at the second slide, it’s a pic of Freeport School District’s: Pupil Personnel Services “PPS” group) – the first meeting we had to discuss the concept of creating a #SameHere🤙 Schools Program.

 

We need mental health programming – assemblies & curriculum, in K-12s more than ever.  Being on the ground for these sessions (the smaller more informal ones we have had over the past year), I can confidently say that young children are ready & WANT to talk about this topic. When you frame it in the context of life challenges as opposed to disorder names, their hands shoot up one after another, to discuss what they have witnessed/are going through.

 

These kids/students need an outlet. They need open conversation to be “normalized.” They don’t need sessions solely about: bullying & drugs.  Those sessions only touch on PART of the much bigger topic that affects us all. I wish we had programs like these when I was going through my K-12 education. I’d rather have known what the feelings & thoughts in my head were related to & how common they were, before learning about what an amphetamine is.

 

This first formal program is going to be great – emceed by Prim Siripipat, stories shared by championship boxer Eric Kelly, & expertise provided by Dr. Jen Hartstein. And that will just be the beginning as we continue to work w this district & others, their teachers, admins, students, & parents, to keep the conversation going, from clubs & mentorship programs – & curriculum going into next school year.  We did roll out the college #SameHere🤙Sit-Downs first, based on the readiness of the colleges, but #SameHere🤙 Schools for K-12s are now ready to take off.

 

Big thanks to our alliance member: Johane Ligonde, the principal of the middle school in the district & our partner in these programs, The Sophia Valsamos Foundation. Together we plan to change the way K-12s open up, talk about, accept, teach & approach this important life topic. 8am at Freeport HS, & then 1pm at Freeport’s Dodd Middle School. Can’t wait!

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