Marshall University Research Corporation’s Center of Excellence for Recovery hosted over 200 educators from the six West Virginia Project AWARE counties for the 2022 Project AWARE Conference. The Project AWARE State Leadership Team joined the group in Wheeling to attend professional development sessions including Prevent Suicide WV, Handle With Care, Verbal De-escalation, WVMTSS, Positive Interventions and Supports, and Preventative Practices to Deescalate Behavior. They took this knowledge to work in drafting plans including adoption and implementation of evidence-based programs and community outreach and engagement for the upcoming school year with the assistance of Marshall University’s School Health Technical Assistance Center. The group was joined by new members of the AWARE team, Sammy and Nutmeg, therapy dogs from Harrison and Clay counties. This work is part of an ongoing effort to strengthen systems of collaboration and access to resources to support the well-being of our students, families, and communities.
“We are so proud of the resilience in these educators who continue to overcome the challenges of the last few years while striving to grow professionally. They have spent the summer training and planning. They are leading the way to develop a model for collaborations at the state and local levels to deliver trauma-informed education and mental health care and make their school communities a positive force in our recovery from the pandemic.” Amy Knicely, State Project AWARE Coordinator, Marshall University Research Corporation, Center of Excellence for Recovery.
Members of the team spent the first evening touring community/school engagement sites in Wheeling in efforts to gather ideas to increase community outreach and positive student engagement opportunities for students in the Project AWARE counties. Stops on the tour included the Mother Jones Center for Resilient Community and Grow Ohio Valley‘s educational urban farm sites including the Lincoln Meadow and Farm18. The tour concluded with a farm to table meal prepared by the GrowOV team and served at the Laughlin Memorial Chapel, which hosts after-school and summer programming for youth in Wheeling.