Posts Tagged Carlynton

Carlynton HS: 'S(t)and-ing Together' for the 1:4

Carlynton HS: 'S(t)and-ing Together' for the 1:4

Although it was Carlynton’s first year in the Stand Together initiative, they hit the ground running! CHS joined us as a Tier 2 school this year, completing two tool-kits and facilitating 4 days worth of activities during their school’s lunch periods. Although CHS is small, their team is mighty and full of energy, passion, and innovative ideas.

table smiles

sandThe first week of March, the students held their ‘sand’ and ‘dirt’ bake sale. Apparently this is all the rage right now, but if you don’t know, ‘sand’ is vanilla pudding with crushed graham crackers and ‘dirt’ is chocolate pudding with crushed Oreos. The students spread the word that ‘stigma is dirt-y‘ and they should ‘s(t)and together.’ Students lined up before lunch even began and their batches sold out within 10 minutes of each lunch! Each cup had a purple flag that had a myth and fact about mental illness or stigma on it to educate their peers. Students were encouraged to read their facts and share them with their friends. Students that completed the pre-survey were also given a code for a FREE cup of their choice.

chain links

At the end of May, the students followed up with a 1:4 day activity. Students signed slips of paper that were linked together to signify that they were going to stand together as a school to stop stigma. One in four links was green to represent the 1:4 students that are affected by a mental health condition. The chains were displayed in the lobby to remind the students of what they learned and their pledge.

pledge signing

Students also had the opportunity to have their picture taken with the #standtogether logo, one in four facts, and used fun summer props. Students took photos in groups of four, with one student with a different colored props, again, representing the 1:4 statistic. The greatest thing was that when a student didn’t have a group of four, members of the team stood in to complete the group! Check out the fun poses from our members:

group pic 2 group pic

Thank you, Carlynton HS team members and your advisors, Mr. Pepe & Ms. Rowley! You guys rocked our socks off!

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Recognition Event 2017

Recognition Event 2017

Words cannot express what an amazing experience we had on Wednesday, May 10 celebrating our Stand Together schools’ accomplishments this past year. Over 150 students and 100 supporters attended this years’ event at the Heinz History Center. All eight of our project completing schools were able to attend in some fashion and some even brought guests, give-a-ways, and goodies to share.

Arsenal giveaways WMHS giveaways

The chairs were full and the plaques were ready to be given out! After a brief introduction, the program began!

crowd plaques

Our featured speaker, Dese’Rae Stage, shared her moving recovery story and the students found hope and inspiration in her words. Many students could relate to her on a personal level and all the participants enjoyed viewing her work, Live Through This, and learning about other suicide survivors stories.

Dese speaks Dese and WMMS students

All of our schools did a fantastic job presenting their projects and demonstrating their mental health expertise and changes in school culture.

Here’s what each school came up with:

Propel: Braddock Hills High School’s projects were a HUGE hit. Their creativity and innovation always inspire other groups to take risks with their projects and think outside the box. This year, the students manufactured a ‘Thought Bubble’ that they used to invite their peers to stop stigma and increase social inclusion by sharing things that they struggled with, things that helped them cope with life’s stress, and things that inspired them. Students also created a life-size board game similar to Chutes & Ladders, in which participants scaled ladders when they supported a friend or talked about mental health, but moved down the slides when they used stigmatizing language or ignore’s signs/symptoms in a peer. The students wrapped-up their project with their annual Blackout Stigma day, in which students are allowed to dress-down in black clothes, participated in a moving wristband sharing activity, and took pictures at a photo-booth with an anti-stigma backdrop created by all the students at the school.

Propel gameboard Propel bubble

Propel was followed by Steel Valley Middle School. These students worked together with their HS counter-parts to unite their schools for a common-cause in their Breaking Barriers Dash. Students also facilitated a Glow-in-the-Dark dodgeball tournament for almost 200 students. Each team had to learn about, spread awareness, and represent their assigned mental health condition. The winners received gift cards. Students also conducted a Kindness Kafe at which they gave away free hot chocolate and ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ bracelets to discuss mental health and increase social inclusion. Students also had a #standtogether selfie station to remind their peers of the activities.

SVMS and MikkiSVMS presentation

Next, students in Arsenal Middle School shared their ‘Cool-Aid Stand’ project, explaining the importance of reaching out to their peers, meeting them where they are, and giving away something for free. As a Community School, Arsenal strives to involve parents and other community members as well. Check out their project!

Arsenal students     DSCN0475

Carlynton spoke of their ‘dirt’ and ‘sand’ bake sale in which they reminded peers that “Stigma is dirty!” and that they should “S(t)and Together.” The snacks had flags that discussed the myths and facts surrounding mental health conditions and sold out quickly! Carlynton is also going to be facilitating a 1:4 week soon.

Carlynton award Carlynton presentation

The Environmental Charter School returned to Stand Together after a one-year hiatus and it was great to see them engaging their peers again! ECS handed out hot chocolate and lemonade as well as wristbands to the students to educate them about mental health and substance use disorders. For every 3 green wristbands, there was 1 purple wristband that read “1 in 4 students have a mental illness” to visually represent the prevalence of behavioral health conditions. The students also had information readily available for students that wanted to learn more about common disorders or compare the myths and facts.

ECS table ECS award

Following ECS, West Mifflin MS shared their tier-3 projects, including a movie night featuring Inside Out and a Color Run, which was open for the whole community. Students also performed skits to talk about mental health and stigma before and during these events. One of the highlights of the day was the students interacting with guests, offering hugs-and giving them, along with passing out a pin with a motivational phrase written on it. There was definitely a lot of love going around the room!

WMMS group pic WMMS hug

Steel Valley HS capitalized on Valentine’s Day with their “Love is louder than any mental illness” campaign. Students decorated lockers with mental health facts and positive messages. They also held a door-decorating contest between homerooms that focused on educating each other about mental health disorders. The students largest event was a mental health fair. Students visited tables and activities set-up around the gym during their lunch periods to learn more about mental health conditions and stigma, participate in social inclusion activities, and de-stress through dancing, Twister, and coloring books. Steel Valley’s innovative theme made a huge impact in their school environment and many faculty members, as well.

SVHS table SVHS presentation

West Mifflin HS wrapped up the program describing their full year of events aimed at ending the stigma attached with mental health disorders. Early in the year, students held a balloon release for students to ‘let go’ of struggles and ‘soar;’ regardless of what was going on, students came together in a moving ceremony to ‘stand together’ in hope. Other projects included educating the preschool students, hosting a bake sale, holding a throwback dance, and presenting a school assembly. Another big event included their mental health fair. Much like SVHS, students learned about mental health, participated in social inclusion and coping skill activities, and played games that not only engaged students and rewarded them with prizes, but provided them with reminders of the things they learned that day. (Did you see some of the prizes above that they also handed out at the event?!)

WMHS award WMHS table


It was an absolutely fantastic event and everyone had a great time. Students and other attendees left inspired to address stigma in their schools and communities and continue in their plight to increase awareness, increase social inclusion, and encourage reaching out to an adult. Thank you all for everything you do for Stand Together! See you next year!

Student smiles


If you’re interested about learning more about Stand Together or bringing to to YOUR SCHOOL, please contact Danyelle Hooks at (412)350-3455 or

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Carlynton HS: Big Goals, Big EQ

Carlynton HS: Big Goals, Big EQ

This will be #StandTogether’s first year at Carlynton, but we can already tell it’s going to be amazing. One thing that stood out from the very beginning was the immense capacity for empathy of this group! EQ means ’emotional intelligence’ and this group of teens was incredibly open-minded, supportive, and engaging. They challenged themselves, each other, and even our staff to really address some of our own agendas and stigmas.

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These students worked hard from the get-go, sharing pieces of themselves and their experiences to really think about how to enact change in their school and their community. They were so excited to start project planning and ended up deciding on not one, but TWO 20161101_131011projects for this school year.

To give you an idea of how the project planning phase works, the students have already spend the first day (and a half) engaging in educational and team-building activities to prepare them to work together to enact social change through service-learning. Students are then presented with the questions, “What can you do to end stigma at your school?” Each student has the chance to share their ideas and consider how they address our goals of stopping stigma, engaging others, and promoting further assistance. We go through pre-designed toolkits and previous projects to give them even more ideas. Then the students vote for which ideas they think will best help them educate and act on the stigma in their school.

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Words cannot begin to express the compassion in this room and we’re more than excited to see how their projects play out this year.

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