Sources of Strength Empowers LKSD Teens

Sources of Strength Empowers LKSD Teens
Posted on 09/07/2022
Sources of strength header picture of students and their wall of hope

Last school year, the Lower Kuskokwim School District began offering Sources of Strength to 10 of its schools — a wellness-focused peer leader program that seeks to empower youth around topics of suicide prevention, substance abuse, violence, and more.

After seeing positive impacts within LKSD school communities from Sources of Strength, the district is continuing the program into the 2022-23 school year.

Deborah McRae, the Site Administrator in the village of Nightmute, said “the after-school program utilizes peer leaders who are mentored by adult advisors to change peer social norms and encourage students to assess and develop resources that become sources of strength in their lives.”

“[At Nightmute School in Negtemiut Elitnaurviat] they got each of the junior high and high school students to create, ‘What I’m thankful for’ statements... they call it the wall of
hope,” McRae said. “Every month, we have a theme and the program provides the context for which they engage.”

Each month, new additions based on a rotating theme will be added to the Nightmute great wall of hope.

McRae said adult advisors are asked to hold at least one meeting per month, either in-person or via Zoom, with the goal of helping students with positive messaging campaigns. Students are encouraged to honor and acknowledge when difficult things happen and then turn to their sources of strength.

Trained peer leaders will use their network of friends to have one-on-one conversations with fellow students and develop messages of hope, help and strength.

Nightmute students and administrator and their wall of hope

In Nightmute we have two student peer leaders, Corey and Colby George who are prepared and have demonstrated the leadership skills needed to launch our Sources of Strength Program,” McRae said. “Spencer Nelson, a brand new teacher to the district —has stepped up and is going to be their adult advisor.”

For more information about Sources of Strength or how you can get involved, email Deborah McRae at [email protected].

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