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Grant impacts mental health program

The DeKalb Eastern school district has received a $20,740 Community Impact Grant to help pay for staffing a mental health professional three days a week. From left are Eastside Junior-Senior High School guidance counselor Lori Kaiser, Terri Christ from the Northeastern Center and Dawn Mason from the United Way of DeKalb County.  (Photo contributed)


KPC News Service Oct. 2, 2019

AUBURN -The United Way of DeKalb County has awarded a $20,740 Community Impact Grant to the DeKalb County Eastern Community School District.
The grant is for the first half of the district’s new mental health program that will provide immediate, in-house access to a case facilitator for all students in the district with heightened social,
emotional and mental health needs.

The mission of DeKalb Eastern schools, in partnership with the community, is to increase the self­ esteem and coping skills of its students so they may feel empowered and supported to succeed and to graduate lifelong learners with the knowledge, skills, and character necessary to become responsible productive citizens in a global society.

The grant funds support that mission through a partnership with DeKalb Eastern and the Northeastern Center that will increase mental wholeness, attendance rates and academic success while decreasing discipline referrals and help reduce the stigma of mental health issues for students within the school district.

With direct access to a Northeastern Center case facilitator three days a week, barriers such as transportation, scheduling, cost and intimidation of the formal mental health center will fade, according to the program. The case facilitator will provide many different resources and training opportunities relating to suicide prevention, social and emotional programming and mental health awareness.

Through the partnership, also supported by the Dekko Foundation, DeKalb Eastern’s mental health program will be self-sustaining after year two by a financial commitment from Northeastern Center.

“Our school district is so excited about our partnership with United Way, Northeastern Center and Dekko Foundation and the support and services we can provide our students together,” said Lori Kaiser, speaking for her guidance team at Eastside Junior-Senior High School. “We feel very blessed that the community supports our vision and are willing to assist with the initial funding to make this a reality.”

“Northeastern Center is excited to partner with DeKalb Eastern school district to provide support, mental health services and teacher/staff trainings,” said Terri Christ from the Northeastern Center. “Early identification and intervention in regard to mental health challenges is essential to help students achieve emotional and mental wholeness. Our shared vision would not have been possible without the support of the United Way and the Dekko Foundation.”

United Way said in a statement that is excited about this new collaboration and the opportunities it will provide for all students and families at DeKalb Eastern Community Schools.