WeTHRIVE! schools & partners connect for good of students (Part 1)

In part 1 of this four-part series, we’ll see how 1N5 and OSU Extension-Hamilton County are working with WeTHRIVE! school districts.

One of the benefits of being a WeTHRIVE! school district or community is the chance to meet and connect with our partners, who can provide expertise, resources, and services. In the same way, our partner organizations have much to offer, but may not have connections in some communities and schools.

Last year, WeTHRIVE!’s Andrea Bourgeois started an advisory committee to bring WeTHRIVE! partners and school districts together to share information, make connections, and build mutually beneficial relationships. 

The partners and school districts currently represented on the advisory committee are:

How have partners & schools connected?

The advisory committee has helped WeTHRIVE! partners and schools get to know each other, paving the way for collaboration that impacts the health and well-being of students, teachers, and parents.

1N5 brings mental health to the forefront

1N5 is an active WeTHRIVE! partner that has been involved with WeTHRIVE! schools and communities over the past few years. Founder/Director Nancy Eigel-Miller appreciates being part of the WeTHRIVE! advisory committee to work with schools. “We talk about what’s working, what are we all doing, and how can we learn from each other, which is really good.”

1N5’s mission is to prevent suicide by reducing the stigma around mental illness. One way they do that is with education and programming in schools.

When 1N5 partners with a school, the first thing they do is a climate survey. “When we go into a school, we like to understand from students, staff, and parents how much knowledge they have,” Nancy says.

From there, 1N5 offers evidence-based programming for students, staff, and parents, including two programs used by WeTHRIVE! school districts:

  • QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) is a suicide prevention gatekeeper training for staff, parents, and caregivers. “It’s teaching people all the signs and symptoms, what the resources are, and how to have a conversation with someone,” Nancy explains. “You’re not the mental health professional, but if you are in the situation, you ask the right questions and know what to do or where to take them.”
  • Sources of Strength is a peer-to-peer program where 1N5-trained adult advisors and students create campaigns around protective factors for suicide prevention in their school.

1N5 in WeTHRIVE! schools

1N5 works with about 125 schools in the area, including Reading Community City Schools and Three Rivers Local Schools, which are both WeTHRIVE! school districts.  

This school year, Reading Junior Senior High School launched the Sources of Strength program after 1N5 trained seven adult advisors and 19 students. The group meets monthly to talk about mental health protective factors and decide how they want to promote these within the school.

Group of junior and senior high school students posing for a photo in a library.
Reading Junior Senior High School’s Sources of Strength team.

Their first campaign, held in January, introduced the Sources of Strength concept to the school. Stephanie Glad, Reading Schools wellness and community outreach coordinator, says they are planning another campaign in March for World Teen Mental Wellness Day. “We received a grant from bi3 to purchase some suicide prevention 988 awareness bracelets for all our students. This will be a reminder in case they need support, they can call or text 988.”

Reading completed district-wide QPR training for all staff during the 2021-2022 school year. Three Rivers Local Schools has also done QPR training and has a Sources of Strength group.

1N5 recently began a Climate Survey for another WeTHRIVE! school district, Mt. Healthy City Schools.

OSU Extension brings hands-on nutrition education to the classroom

OSU Extension in Hamilton County recently joined the advisory committee, but they’ve been teaching nutrition and cooking classes in WeTHRIVE! communities for years. Their Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) curriculum is evidence- and research-based, providing students with the opportunity to learn and develop skills to make healthy choices that last a lifetime.

Six women and one man posing in a classroom in front of a large O on the wall.
Hamilton County OSU Extension staff.

EFNEP uses a variety of fun, hands-on, educational activities to promote making healthy choices being physically active every day. Staff visit a classroom once a week for seven weeks and the sessions last about 30 to 60 minutes.

Activities vary for each grade level, but many lessons include a food tasting, says Amy Habig, EFNEP program specialist. “Air-popped popcorn is popular, and our staff will also do things like carrots and hummus, spinach with Italian dressing, and trail mix.”

OSU Extension in WeTHRIVE! schools

This school year, all K-6 classes at Reading Elementary School will complete the 7-week series of EFNEP classes. Stephanie Glad says OSU Extension comes into wellness class periods to teach. “Both of our wellness teachers, Mrs. Black and Mrs. Carpenter, are loving what they are doing. They say it’s really interactive for the kids and really engaging.”

Four children sitting on yoga mats with two adults in front of them teaching nutrition.
OSU Extension teaches about nutrition and physical activity at Reading Elementary School.

Students in North College Hill’s Trojan Way Learning Center are also completing the EFNEP classes this year. Amy says they’ve been able to add some cooking skills into sessions for the older students.

Learn more about 1N5 by contacting Nancy Eigel-Miller or visit 1N5.org. For more information about OSU Extension in Hamilton County, contact Amy Habig.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this story, which will feature how other WeTHRIVE! partners are working with our school districts.