Propel: Braddock Hills High School is our other school that has been in the program all six years and each year they continue to surprise us with their creativity, passion, and commitment. They are mixing it up this year though: none of the students have participated in this group before. Several of the students participated at the middle school level, but it’s a whole new crop of students. New group = new ideas. It’s gonna be another great year!
Most of the students in the group didn’t know each other before the training. We find that oftentimes, these teams form the closest bonds. As groups engage with each other in team-building (such as Common Ground) and intimate activities (such as Cross the Line), they learn that they have more in common than separates them and that no one is alone. Although we all come from very different backgrounds and have varied experiences, we can all relate to each other and play a part in ending stigma.
This year, we were incredibly impressed by the ideas the students came up. Students viewed past projects and took them a step further, amping them up and pushing them to new heights (literally: a balloon release!). I was particularly fond of the ‘Stigma is Sour; Support is Sweet’ idea; every student that engages in the activity gets a slushie, but one in four get a pack of Sour Patch Kids (my favorite candy). Needless to say, I’ll be out to visit that day. The group had some really catchy slogans, too, including: ‘Light the Way’ (paper lanterns with facts) and ‘Letting Go of Insecurities.’ The group also plans to do a mask activity and have 1:4 students put a large X on their face to symbolize the 1:4 youth affected by mental and/or substance use disorders. This is even more meaningful as the definition of stigma means a mark of disgrace. Students hope this moving visual will create a huge impact on the culture of their school by increasing awareness and social inclusion. to break down stigma and advocate for asking for help.
We’re excited to see Propel BHHS projects in action later this year and are certain they’re ‘lighting the way’ to a future without stigma. Here’s to year six-let’s do this!
Written by Danyelle, coordinator