Back to school is upon us, and with most students reporting in person full-time for the first time in a year and a half, students need a little extra support to help make a smooth transition.
That’s why Boeing is providing $105,000 to 21 school districts across Washington and Oregon, in communities where many Boeing employees live and work. We all know COVID-19 has brought unique and stressful challenges, so the funds will largely support mental health and wellness resources for kids heading back to class.
The funds provided by Boeing will support a variety of programs including mental health curricula for students and mental health training and information sessions for teachers and families. The funds will also help strengthen referral resources and, in some cases, help students meet their basic needs. The programs will also prioritize services for students and families impacted by racial inequities.
To support students in Seattle Public Schools, Boeing contributed to the Alliance for Education’s Right Now Needs Fund focused on removing barriers to student learning. As students return to school this fall, the Fund will focus on addressing the physical, mental and emotional well-being of students so they can spend their time concentrating on their studies.
Petaki Cobell, Right Now Needs Fund Director, noted that “Boeing’s investment in the Right Now Needs Fund will support students in Seattle Schools to arrive to school ready to learn. As students return to school in the midst of racial tension and COVID uncertainty, this Fund responds to urgent needs of local students and families, removing barriers to learning and education achievement.”
The Foundation for Tacoma Students is working with the Mayor’s Youth Commission in a peer-led support program. Over the course of the pandemic, members of the Commission expressed a need for greater mental health support. The goal is to equip high school students with the tools to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health or substance use issues in their friends and peers. The pilot program is expected to start this upcoming school year with 20-50 students in the Tacoma area.
Rick Remmert, Boeing Production Engineering Manager and board member at the Foundation for Tacoma Students, stated “This generous gift by Boeing ignites a pilot program for the 2021/2022 school year for Tacoma High School students to connect in the mental health ecosystem on solutions impacting all our Tacoma Students. I applaud our community partners - Boeing, the Foundation for Tacoma Students, and the Mayor’s Youth Commission of Tacoma - to lead in this important space of positive mental health outcomes for all of our Tacoma Students now and in the future.”
Lake Washington School District is offering Youth Mental Health First Aid training sessions to school staff members to give them the tools to provide ‘first aid’ to students experiencing a mental health crisis. Additionally, schools will have Care Teams in place to provide resources for teachers to better help their students experiencing crisis or poverty.
Over the past several years, the Bethel School District Foundation has used four Bethel Outreach Buses (BOB) to engage families in typically underserved Bethel neighborhoods. Inspire BOB, this year’s new iteration of the BOB program, focuses on mental health and emotional wellness of students. Middle and high school peer mentors will support Inspire BOB’s community visits and, with supervision, will deliver curricula designed to help students learn and practice life and wellness skills.
A comprehensive list of the schools foundations supported by Boeing’s donation is below.
• Alliance for Education
• Bellevue Schools Foundation
• Bethel School District Foundation
• Everett Public Schools Foundation
• Foundation for Edmonds School District
• Foundation for Tacoma Students
• Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools
• Fund for Portland Public Schools
• Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation
• Highline Schools Foundation
• Issaquah Schools Foundation
• Kent Schools Foundation
• Lake Washington Schools Foundation
• Mukilteo Schools Foundation
• Northshore Schools Foundation
• Northwest Educational Service District 189
• PSESD Learning Communities Foundation
• Renton Schools Foundation
• Snohomish Education Foundation
• Shoreline Public Schools Foundation
• White Salmon Valley Education Foundation
By Carolyn Gatlin