KyleCares Foundation News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 2021
As the pandemic continues to cause a surge in mental health challenges for teens and young adults, the need for solutions in high schools and colleges to support students’ mental well-being has never been more important. Read how KyleCares ever-expanding influence is growing not only locally, but extending nationally in support of services and campaigns introduced by our strategic partners.
The Canton Public Schools’ wellness team and district leadership are taking proactive measures with coordination and financial assistance from KyleCares to answer rising concerns about student mental health, based on the latest results of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance system survey. The survey, a tool developed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is released every two years to school districts nationwide since 1990, and the 2019 results showed a spike in anxiety and depression among Canton students.
With the fear that student mental health has likely worsened due to pandemic isolation and stress, Wellness Coordinator Ryan Gordy and teacher Adam Hughes are leading an action plan of new preventive programming based on student involvement. 

This includes bringing in 
Young Adult Speakers from Minding Your Mind recently to address 270 freshman and sophomore in health classes who shared stories of hope, perseverance, and coping
skills to help inspire
conversations about mental health and the importance of opening up.
With over 100 students involved in the school’s Active Minds Chapter that commenced in 2020 with an initial KyleCares Grant as its foundation, North Attleboro High School unveiled their Green Bandana Project in February - a nationwide awareness campaign to destigmatize the discussion around mental health. Each Big Red student received a bandana to tie to their backpack to signal they’re an ally to those who struggle with mental health issues, and by keeping it visible in their daily life they pledge - found here.
KyleCares Director Katie Johnson (center) with North Attleboro High School Active Minds Chapter President Abby Sheaff (L) and Secretary
Alicia Hawe (R)
My name is Abby Sheaff and I am currently a high school senior at North Attleboro High School. During my sophomore year of high school I started my own journey with mental illness,and during my junior year I lost a friend to suicide. These two aspects of my life have been important factors in motivating me to advocate for mental health, and trying to battle the stigma about it in my school and community. Some of my main goals are to remind students that it is ok to not be ok all the time, and that they are never alone in their struggles. I also try to share that mental health is relevant to everyone - not just those diagnosed with
a mental illness.

I am the founder of the Active Minds chapter at our school that KyleCares helped us form, and also the current president. Through Active Minds I think my classmates and I have started to make a real impact in the atmosphere of our school and how mental health is treated. One main way we are doing this is by educating our community about mental health. We have done a few live streams for the entire school about mental health and why it’s important. I know
that change cannot happen if there isn’t understanding of what mental health is, so it is important to teach people.

Connecting with KyleCares and consequently becoming involved with Active Minds has been the best part of my high school experience. It has provided me with a space to advocate for an issue that is so important to me. I am so happy with all of the work that has been done at our school surrounding mental health so far, and I am excited to see what the students, faculty, Active Minds, and
KyleCares do in the future.
On February 16, a panel of experts, including a parent (KyleCares President Jim Johnson), a high school leader from Las Vegas, and other esteemed mental health advocates discussed the importance of addressing suicide among high school students. 

With their new innovative solution – a comprehensive approach to a long-term, sustainable strategy call JED High School – The Jed Foundation is paving a path for high schools nationwide to better support their students’ emotional wellbeing and mental health needs. 
The Johnson family is grateful for the opportunity to share their experience as suicide loss survivors in Beyond the Backpacks, a new virtual experience introduced by Active Minds at their National Conference in February. Visitors to this online gallery will learn about suicide’s impact, learn how their everyday actions can help to create a new and better culture around mental health with reduced suicide rates, and share their own message of hope by answering the simple question: what would you say to someone who’s struggling?   
Bluestone Bank has launched a series of charitable community voting campaigns and they have selected KyleCares as one of five organizations to be part of the campaign!

They are making $5,000 available in charitable donations that will be spread across all five organizations. How much of the $5,000 each of the five organizations will receive will be based on the number of "likes" each organization gets on
Bluestone's social media.

Vote between April 1st - May 15th, KyleCares supporters can vote once per day, per device!
KylePalooza has moved to Saturday, November 27TH –
watch for a special virtual event June 5TH, 7-8pm – details forthcoming!