Sources of Strength (SOS) at Sierra High School has received funding from Excellence in Education for the last 2 years. In the three years since it was started, students have taken on a variety of activities that promote student wellness. Following the initial SOS training, students met and brainstormed a long list of potential activities. Up to this point, students brought a group of students to the MakerSpace to learn about textiles and woodwork in a 5 week course. They also put together a tamale making gathering prior to the winter break to celebrate cultural pastimes. And also organized our annual Gratitude Gathering. Prior to the implementation of Distance Learning, students had planned an effort to involve fellow students in community service projects (as part of the generosity domain of wellness). We are currently in the process of how remaining funding ($164) could benefit students in this virtual setting.
Sources of Strength is a TTUSD adopted comprehensive wellness training. Program designer’s characterize it as having, “a true preventative aim in building multiple sources of support around individuals so that when times get hard they have strengths to rely on” (CITE SOURCE). Sources of Strength’s mission and vision is aimed primarily at suicide, violence, and substance abuse prevention by building upon the many strengths underlying wellness.
At the beginning of the 2017 school year, 8 Sierra High School (SHS) students attended a Sources of Strength training at the TTUSD Office. For the first time since SOS implementation, students at SHS decided to form a Sources of Strength group at SHS in order to promote ongoing wellness and build upon a positive school climate and culture. Each year since then, students have been SOS trained.
Students meet about once a month during their lunch to discuss wellness related issues and concerns, and to organize monthly activities and/or educational opportunities that relate to and promote the SOS pillars of wellness: mental health, family support, positive friends, mentors, healthy activities, generosity, spiritual wellness, and medical access. SOS has become an integral part of our school community. Activities (which are held after school, and/or during 5th and 6th periods) bring students together and promote well-being and connectedness. SOS also collaborates with community partners, like the Truckee Library, to affect a broader understanding of mental health issues in the community.