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Kevin Love's mental health fund part of multi-district summit this month | You are Not Alone with Hollie Strano

This year, the summit is bigger than ever, thanks to one Clevelander passionate about mental health: Kevin Love.

PARMA, Ohio — Last year, WKYC told you about the yearly mental health summit at Parma Schools, where they train their staff and students to be mental health ambassadors. This year, the summit is bigger than ever, thanks to one Clevelander passionate about mental health: Kevin Love.

"We're gonna train a thousand students across the area, to be mental health ambassadors at their schools," explained Marian Armstrong, a counselor at Parma Senior High.

For the past five years, the district's "Hope Squad" ambassador program and the yearly summit have made mental health education as important as any other subject in the district. The Hope Squad is a national program for suicide prevention. It uses the students to spot lonely or struggling students in-person or through their social media. The students are trained to reach out to those other kids.

The summit trains the district's students and staff to spot similar things, and know how to respond in a crisis. It's been so successful, many other districts called, wanting to take part this year.

"Another school system called, and another school system called," remembers Armstrong.

This year, students and staff at more than 15 area districts will take part in the summit on October 10 at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, where one other mental health ambassador has made quite a name for himself. The Kevin Love Fund is partnering with Parma Schools, even donating $5,000, and will use its newly-created curriculum to train students and staff. He will also make it possible for all the students to attend a pre-season Cavs game later that day.

"So during the summit while the kids are doing their workshops, our advisors are going to be doing a Kevin Love Fund workshop where they're going to be trained by their team to learn the whole SEL curriculum that he's been working on with their team for over a year," Armstrong said.

The newly-launched curriculum is free to schools, and consists of 15-plus lesson plans that teach students and staff 6 values:

  • Destigmatize emotions often labeled as "negative" by our culture
  • Recognize that thoughts and feelings are connected and distinguish between kind thoughts and critical ones
  • Cultivate empathy for others
  • Understand the connection between gratitude and well-being
  • Recognize that kindness and service are linked to happiness
  • Craft a hopeful vision for the future

"So were not training them to be therapists, that's very important. We're training them to be the bridge to someone who can help somebody in crisis," Armstrong said.

The summit's impact, hoping to not only reach more students than ever, but make a lasting impression, thanks to an NBA star reminding us that you are not alone, matter who you are.

"This is, it's really just having these kids look into themselves a little more, then they wouldn't do so at school," says Halle Holub, a counselor at Brecksville-Broadview Heights schools.

"Kids are sad, and they're anxious, and they're just not as resilient as they used to be. Hopefully with a program like this we can teach resiliency, and spread that across the city again," said Armstrong.

Besides the Kevin Love Fund donation, another one from Quest Diagnostics is what will make this event possible. Parma schools have also partnered with the other following organizations that will be on hand that day:

  • Reilley's Angels: therapy/service dogs
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Education Service Center of NEO
  • ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County
  • Life Act, 
  • Recovery Resources 
  • NAMI of Cuyahoga County 
  • The Harris Project
  • The Journey Center for Safety and Healing 
  • Youth Yoga Project
  • CSU Counseling department
  • SADD
  • LGBTQ+ Center

If you would like to learn more about the Kevin Love Fund's curriculum, click here.

Editor's Note: The following video is from a previous, unrelated story:


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