Tag Archives: activities

How Are Some Students Raising Mental Health Awareness in Their High Schools?

PCLG parents have been spending some time these past few months learning about student-driven mental health awareness groups at area high schools.  It’s truly inspiring to hear how teenagers are leading efforts to erase stigma, create positive environments, and drive change in their schools and communities. Hats off to these students!Teensgroupcircle

Silver Ribbon Campaign (SRC)  – South High School, Minneapolis

SRC is a student-led group dedicated to supporting and educating students whose lives are touched by mental illness or who want to positively influence school culture.  SRC was founded 11 years ago by two students who had family members suffering from mental illness. SRC holds about 18 1-hour events throughout the year, most of which are held during the school day and involve invited speakers (students, teachers, and outside guests).

The group learns about mental health issues and has a field trip to the capitol each year to learn about advocacy and the legislative process.  Many students attend conferences and other meetings as representatives of SRC.

Silver Ribbon Club – Washburn High School, Minneapolis

The Silver Ribbon Campaign is a student led group focused on reducing stigma and raising awareness around mental illness issues. “We make it ok to talk about not being ok.”

Students  check in with each other and the group’s advisor at meetings but primarily work on planning mental health awareness activities, such as:

  • Guest speakers for students and also evening events for parents
  • Fidgety Fairy Tales performance
  • “Above the Influence” Campaign: Avoiding the pitfalls of peer pressure
  • Text number with free app for Washburn students to ask questions
  • Glass display case with information about depression and anxiety
  • Create of a video Public Service Announcement
  • Volunteered for other organizations that help teens with mental illness

HEART, Wayzata High School, Wayzata,MN

HEART is a student task formed a year ago by a student leader in response to a series of tragedies. Their main focus has been to create a positive school climate and raise mental health awareness, particularly for those students who might otherwise be overlooked or not connected to school activities.

They sponsored a Mental Wellness week, leveraging support from local businesses, the Student Council, National Honor Society and other existing student groups.

Activities included:

  • “Pay It Forward Day” – Students earned wristbands for doing good deeds
  • Professional and student panels and mental health workshops
  • Photo booth – Students held cards that answered the question “How do you do wellness?”

Outside the Box: Summer Activities for All Kinds of Kids and Teens

Summer can be a great time for kids to take a break from the pressures of school, explore their strengths and interests, or just have fun with friends.  Finding things for kids to do over the summer is a challenge for every family, but it is Summer Fall 2011 Etc 322particularly difficult for our families.  Sensory issues, anxiety, attention problems, fine and gross motor problems, or the potential for outbursts can be barriers for our children’s participation in many activities.

 But don’t give up!  It’s so important for our kids to be involved in their community. We are listing below lots of ideas to help you get started.  In this issue, we have low cost activities for families, fun and affordable ideas for kids, special swim lessons, and opportunities for teens.

A few fun and affordable ideas for kids:

IDEAS FOR TEENS

Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

Minneapolis Parks & Recreation

Programs for Teens

  •  Youthline Outreach Mentorship
  • Youthline engages youth ages 12-16 in positive leadership experiences and recreational activities while connecting them to adult mentors in the parks.
  • Teen Teamworks
  • Teen Teamworks is a summer employment and educational program for youth ages 14-18.
  • Nite Owlz
  • Nite Owlz provides extended teen programming at various recreation centers from 8-11 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Activities may include open gym, cooking, computer labs and more. Contact a neighborhood recreation center for details.
  • IDEAWERKS
  • IDEAWERKS is for youth ages 12-18 to learn multimedia production; record audio and video information on a digital media workstation; study music basics and computer software to create music tracks and videos; and produce and record individual multimedia projects.

Summer Can Be Fun

We all struggle with finding ways to get our kids outside and moving in the summer.  When kids have mental health issues or disabilities, it’s even harder to find fun activities for them that match their interests.  I’ve gathered a list of some different kinds of activities in and around Hennepin County and also places you can contact to get even more information.

Three Rivers Parks District – Lots of different types of activities for families, from fishing and farming events to day camps for kids.  Please contact 763.559.9000 if you have any questions about special needs accommodations.

Get Out, Get Active!  Hennepin County and area cities have teamed up to offer a great brochure  with listings of fun activities and recreation resources as well as a participation card, that gives you a chance to win a free pass to Three Rivers Parks District (a $150 value).  The contest starts now, so check it out!

Hoofbeats and Heartbeats (763-441-2274) is an equestrian learning center dedicated to providing therapeutic riding and teaching proper horse care and management to individuals with emotional and physical disabilities, elderly and youth. Located in Otsego, MN

Mall of America – Nickelodeon Universe Parents of Kids with Special Needs children can stop by customer service within Nickelodeon Universe for your Park Handbook. A Manager will sign off on rides appropriate for your child and an adult can ride all the rides free of charge with the special kid as a chaperon. The book will also enable up to four people in the party to enter the rides from the exit so there is little to no wait time.

Pump It Up – Sensory Play Night – Come play on the giant, soft, fun-filled interactive inflatables 2nd Monday of each month from 6:00 to 7:30.  During this evening event the area is reserved exclusively for special needs children and their families.

Sensory Friendly Films at AMC Theaters For families affected by autism and other disabilities, these are special opportunities to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment. The movie auditoriums will have their lights brought up and the sound turned down, families will be able to bring in their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks, and no previews or advertisements will be shown before the movie.

More Resources and Ideas:

Reach for Resources (952-988-4177) provides therapeutic recreational services to Brooklyn Park, Brooklyn Center, Maple Grove, Golden Valley, Plymouth, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Chaska and Chanhassen.

  • YMCAs – summer and after school camps, lots of other activities
  • YWCAs – summer and after school camps, lots of other activities

City Parks and Recreation Departments – Classes, camps, sports,