Northern Lights Public Schools is pleased to launch its new It Starts with Hope project, which will include a variety of activities and initiatives focusing on hope and the positive impact it has on mental health.
“The events of the past year have highlighted the important role that mental health plays in all of our lives,” said Board Chair Arlene Hrynyk. “Engaging our students in conversations and activities that focus on hope is an important part of the commitment we have made to improving student mental health and wellness.”
In January, Imperial Oil announced that it would be providing $40,000 to NLPS to support the It Starts with Hope project and improve food security.
“We are grateful to Imperial Oil not only for the financial support they are providing, but for recognizing the importance of investing in student mental health and the impact that can have in our schools and our communities,” said Hrynyk.
The It Starts with Hope project includes three initiatives that will be launched in conjunction with Mental Health Week (May 3 to 9):
- Signs of Hope - In partnership with Imperial Oil and Thinkwerx, NLPS will be giving away 400 lawn signs featuring messages of hope for people to display in our communities. Anyone can win a sign by sharing an idea about how they or someone else can spread hope in their family, school or community, and then filling out an entry form on our Engage NLPS site.
We are also encouraging everyone in our communities to share signs of hope during Mental Health Health Week - make your own sign, decorate your windows, create chalk designs on sidewalks, or share a meme or video on social media!
- Stories of Hope - Visitors on our Engage NLPS site can also share their Stories of Hope. This can be something they have done to grow hope in their life, a story about a hope hero, or how hope has impacted them. Get creative and share your story as a video, podcast, poem, song, or art! We plan to expand on this initiative as we move further along with the It Starts with Hope project.
- Messages of Hope - How far can we spread hope? Students at participating NLPS schools will receive postcards they can use to write messages of hope they can deliver or send to others. Recipients are encouraged to take a photo of the postcard and share it on social media with the hashtag #NLPSHopes to see how far our message can reach and spread them even farther.
Students may also be participating in hope focused activities specific to the schools they are attending. Additional activities/initiatives are also being planned at the division and school levels for later this year and into the 2021-22 school year. More details will be shared once plans have been finalized.
Division Priority One in the NLPS Three-Year Education Plan is improving student mental health and wellness. In addition to the It Starts with Hope project, the plan includes universal, targeted and individualized strategies to address student mental health. These strategies include:
- Create opportunities to enhance welcoming school environments for all students
- Developing a menu of supports to build staff capacity
- Enhancing the use of Student Advocacy Counsellors at all NLPS schools
- Community Helpers Program - provides high school students with the skills and knowledge to support their peers’ mental health and well-being
- Collaboration with local agencies to support integrated mental health services for students.
In addition, the NLPS Board of Trustees continues to advocate for improved resources and access to mental health supports for students in our communities.
“Student health and wellness is not something that can be addressed in isolation in our schools,” said Hrynyk. “Our youth represent the hope we have for our communities and our futures and we need all levels of government, our communities, and individuals working together to make a difference.”
Hope Focused Mental Health Resources
- Fostering hope: How to build resilience in youth (Kids Help Phone)
- Hope Rocks: How one student is spreading positivity in her rural community (Education NC)
- Hopeful Minds (iFred.org)
Activities for Families:
- Let’s Capsule It! (Successful Families, Successful Kids)
- Hope Symbols (Successful Families, Successful Kids)
- Leaving My Mark (Plant Love Grow) - Elementary School
- Why I Can Do This (understood.org) - Middle School
- Two Stories (Character Lab) - High School
Please note that grade levels are included below only as a guide. Feel free to complete any prompts that you feel are applicable to you or your children. Prompts can be completed individually or used to start a family conversation.
- Grade K to 3 - When I grow up I want to…
- Grade 4 to 6 - What would it be like to celebrate something every day?
- Grade 4 to 6 - What can you teach other people?
- Grade 4 to 6 - Draw a time you felt happy
- Grade 4 to 6 - What does hope mean to you?
- Grade 7 to 9 - If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- Grade 7 to 9 - Describe your best day ever
- Grade 7 to 9 - What age are you excited to reach?
- Grade 7 to 9 - Five years from now
- Grade 10 to 12 - When are you at your best?
- Grade 10 to 12 - 10 things that make you smile
- Grade 10 to 12 - What are you looking forward to?
- Grade 10 to 12 - What is one topic you need to learn more about to live a more fulfilling life?
- Adults: List 4 things you are looking forward to
- Adults: Name 10 things on your bucket list. What do you need to do to accomplish the rest?
- Adult: What do you think is possible?
- Adult: What three wishes would you like to be granted?