Posts Tagged Fox Chapel


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Dorseyville MS: ‘What does the fox say?’ STOP STIGMA!

Dorseyville MS: ‘What does the fox say?’ STOP STIGMA!

Am I the only one that remembers that bizarre song? But I’m so excited to welcome Dorseyville (Fox Chapel) Middle School to the Stand Together program this year. This roaring group of almost 30 ‘foxes’ (their mascot) are ready to talk about mental and substance use disorders and ‘bark away’ stigma. (Yes, more fox puns…I couldn’t resist! – Don’t worry; they won’t be using this ridiculous phrase in their projects.)

The Dorseyville school and advisors were on-board from the very beginning. At our first meeting, there was a resounding Yes! to start a Stand Together chapter in the 2019-2020 school year. With administration, all the counselors, and a teacher advisor on-board, they were ready to jump in and hit the ground running! They easily hand-picked a large group of students to participate in the training. I was impressed with the balance of genders and variety of students they chose, including a handful of students that were not afraid to self-disclose their own experiences with mental illness.

This group was passionate from the get-go! Although it was a large group, students weren’t afraid to speak up and be heard among their peers, especially when it came to busting some of the myths and sparking conversations about examples of stigma and its negative effects on themselves and those around them. Some of the students were slow to warm-up, but eventually became comfortable with sharing in the group and were just as invested as their teammates. They learned so much so quickly-review was a blast! They really *sparkled!* (One of our review games is called Sparkle.)

The second workshop was where the students really *shined!* (see what I did there?) The students were so excited to share their ideas that I could barely get through the process discussion and examples! There were so many things that wanted their peers to know and so many ways they wanted to do so. By the end of the day, we settled on three projects with a spare if they have time at the end of the year. Lots of hands make the work light and lots of brains make the ideas flow freely!

This year, the team plans on hosting a snack stand, video/assembly, and 1:4 sticky note project. They started off thinking about doing donuts, but with 1000# students in their school, that could get pretty expensive! So they settled on brownie and lemon bites, which is a more manageable and fun alternative. Even though they’re a younger group (both in age and experience), they’re not shy about standing up in front of their peers and sharing their stories. They are also lucky enough to have a ‘Maker Space’ in their school and hope to design a fun take-away for the assembly. And, of course, the group is getting shirts to they can represent their team as they boldly stand-up to stigma by educating their peers, increasing awareness of mental and substance use disorders and stigma, and challenging myths and misconceptions that perpetuate stigma.

Welcome to the club, Dorseyville! We’re already impressed with your wealth of knowledge, wit, and willingness to share what you’ve learned and experienced with your peers. We can’t wait to see your projects in action and see the changes you make in your school and communities!

Written by Danyelle, coordinator

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Helping Students Realize their Potential: National School Counselor's Week

Helping Students Realize their Potential: National School Counselor's Week

School counselors not only prepare students for life beyond the confines of the middle/high school, but also provide support and encouragement. More and more, school counselors are the adult a student turns to when they find they need help. The American School Counselor Association states that “school counselors help students focus on academic, career, and social/emotional development so students can achieve success in school and are prepared to lead fulfilling lives as responsible members of society” (ASCA). Some of the other things counselors are…2-8-17 NSCW poster
Caring
Organized
Understanding
Nurturing
Supportive
Empowering
Leaders
Optimistic
Reliable

Today, school counselors are some of the most important and prominent members of a school’s faculty. They’re caring, compassionate, and genuinely concerned with the well being of the children they deal with. Social, behavioral, mental, and emotional problems are also often addressed by school counselors as well. For instance, school counselors will often help students who are struggling academically; being bullied by peers; abuse drugs or alcohol; or experiencing abuse or other problems at home. School counselors might also help students who are dealing with issues such as low self-esteem and time management.

Some of our Stand Together advisors are school counselors or are employed in that capacity in our schools.

2-8-17 Ms. Cap-Linda Capozzoli, Brentwood High School: Brentwood has participated in Stand Together for 3 years now. The director of Special Education for the district had requested the school get involved in the project and they have had great success. For several years the group has also worked together with the video production team to create informative PSA’s for suicide prevention and Stand Together itself.

-Bryan McCarthy, Arsenal Middle School: Arsenal has also been involved with Stand Together for 3 years. Initially the program was under the direction of the school social worker, Monica Tillman, but has since been facilitated by Mr. McCarthy. Mr. McCarthy actually works for Communities in Schools. A CIS Site Coordinator works inside schools to assess needs and deliver necessary resources. These Coordinators are consistent, caring adults whose job is to support students to succeed, whether it be in the classroom or dealing with something outside of their control or in their environments.2-8-17 Ms. Dojo

-Stacie Dojonovic, Ph.D., Fox Chapel Area High School: This is Fox Chapel’s first year with Stand Together. Ms. Dojonovic is the Transition Facilitator at the school, but is also a LPC, a licensed professional counselor. She also advises the school’s Best Buddies program, an inclusion initiative with special emphasis on students with disabilities. Having both programs in their school affords Fox Chapel an unique opportunity to combat stigma from multiple perspectives as well as partner to increase their impact on the student body.

Thank you, School Counselors (and like professionals!) for all you do for our students, schools and communities. Stand Together appreciates your committment to meeting each individual where they are and helping them to be the best they can be!

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Fox Chapel: Warm Acceptance & Unity

Fox Chapel: Warm Acceptance & Unity

December 13 and January 6 we met with students at Fox Chapel High School to talk about mental illness and stigma. This is the first year Fox Chapel has partiL4C Team discussioncipated in Stand Together. These students were full of great ideas of how to facilitate activities that would invite their peers to come together and foster warm acceptance in their school community. Students had been meeting for several weeks to start thinking about how to Stand Together against stigma and arrived at their trainings full of energy and ready to begin their work to educate, engage, and inform their peers of adults that could help them in their time of need.

Students were excited to share their experiences from Workshop 1 that brought them together with their peers. One idea that kept coming up is the idea that we are all more alike than we are different andTruth Booth Team presentation that everyone deserves to be loved, accepted, and included. Students decided to select the Lemonade for Change and Truth Booth tool-kits for their events this year. The team found some great ways to reinvent and facilitate these projects, create a welcoming atmosphere, and emphasize the Stand Together goals in innovative plans. I can’t wait to see them in action!

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