Dodge the Stigma and Buzz the Bobcats fundraisers are adding $132,000 for SHINE mental health programs in both school divisions through the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation.
The funds raised from the fall dodgeball tournament followed by the Lloydminster Bobcats getting buzz cuts for mental health have combined as the SHINE program expands to grade eight in both the Lloydminster Catholic and public schools.
SHINE, which stands for strong healthy individuals navigating their emotions, is operational in both the LPSD and LCSD and the extra funding will bring more programming to middle school, according to program coordinators.
Glenda Kary deputy director of education for the LCSD says the SHINE team has a longstanding partnership with the LRHF and they are looking forward to continuing to have mental health programming for all students in Lloydminster.
“The specific priority program for grade eight is called Building Mental Wellness. So that program is targeted at learning all the different ways to identify what are some ways that you can help yourself stay mentally well. And we all have times when we experience anxiety or stress in different ways, but being able to identify it and have strategies to deal with it is the power of that program.”
Kary says SHINE has 72 programs that are delivered in the schools and also during the summer and these are connected to the Saskatchewan curriculum.
Brent Thomas superintendent of education with LPSD sees the benefit of the expanded program to include middle school as well as the younger grades. He adds both teachers and students have responded positively to the SHINE programs.
“They see the benefits of proactive programming and the kids just really love some of the programs. They are just cool programs and great ways to engage kids in learning about resilience, mental health and supporting themselves and others. And sometimes they just have a bunch of fun and they don’t even realize the learning that they are doing.”
Stephanie Munro, CEO of the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation recognizes the support of the community in making the donation possible for the mental health of young people at school.
She applauded the Buzz the Bobcats effort spearheaded by Jayvon Leslie and the Bobcats team and staff which pitched in over $30,000 and also all the teams and the community who got behind the dodgeball tournament in the fall.
Munro sees some real world applications of the programming that will be available to grade eight students as they navigate the changes going on within them.
“This gives them their opportunity to understand why that’s all happening and how to navigate those emotions rather than perhaps getting behind a cell phone and sending a snapchat that maybe is inappropriate. So the skills that they are going to be learning are going to be life skills that can carry them for the rest of their lives.”
She adds the SHINE program will also help students to recognize mental health symptoms in others, so the program is not just impacting grade eight students, but can redound to the community.
SHINE wellness coach Falon Willis tells MyLloydminsterNow that she has already been to every grade eight class in the city in both school divisions and will be working with the students until the end of June.