Alder’s New Hope Squad Plans Hope day, and Works to Increase Awareness of Mental Health Issues

Hope Squad is a new suicide prevention program here at JAHS and is working on erasing the stigma of mental health in teens.

https://hopesquad.com

Hope Squad is a new suicide prevention program here at JAHS and is working on erasing the stigma of mental health in teens.

Olivia Zimmerman , Staff Writer

Hope Squad is a suicide prevention program that has the purpose of reducing youth suicides through training, education, and peer intervention. Alder students recently nominated members for the group, and the 19 students now a part of the group are working on bringing Hope Squad’s mission to existence at JAHS.

 Junior Hannah Yates enjoys playing sports such as tennis and track. She also finds enjoyment through the outdoors:, “hiking is one of my favorite things to do,” she says. Not only does she love sports and the outdoors, but she is huge on music and playing instruments. When Yates discovered that she had been chosen by the junior class to be a part of Hope Squad she felt “encouraged by my peers to be chosen.” For Yates, she has always wanted “to be someone who people can come talk about things with,” so being chosen for Hope Squad was encouraging.not only that but she made it her mission to “always try my best to be the best person I can be.” 

Freshman Kyra Neeley is a part of the softball team, has three dogs, and is a huge Swiftie (Taylor Swift fan). When she found out that she was chosen for Hope Squad she felt “really honored, I felt like I was a very liked person that others could come to.” Hope Squad is fairly new for Jonathan Alder, and students meet once a week. “It feels like we are doing a lot of good things,” Neeley says. “We discuss what we can do to make the school a better place.” 

 Junior Hannah Yates is someone who enjoys playing sports such as tennis and track. She also finds enjoyment through the outdoors: “hiking is one of my favorite things to do,” she says. Not only does she love sports and the outdoors, but she is huge on music and playing instruments. For Yates, she has always wanted “to be someone who people can come talk about things with,” so being chosen for Hope Squad was encouraging.

Senior Dominic Dellapina is a part of the marching band and musical here at JA, but also the soccer, tennis, and bowling teams.  Like Yates and Neeley, Dellapina “felt honored” to be a part of a group like this. However, “it also felt like a great responsibility out on my shoulders,” he says. “We are trying to erase this stigma of mental health and raise awareness.” 

Something Hope Squad is trying to accomplish at the moment is “being heard.” Dellapina is a senior, but that doesn’t stop him from having goals for Hope Squad. One of those goals is to get “everyone to learn about Hope Squad.” 

The group is currently planning several events to “introduce Hope Squad members,” but also to “ introduce the goals and beliefs of Hope Squad,” according to Dellapina.  

 In the future for this group, Yates hopes “to see more people going to trustworthy adults for friends to get help and to not deal with it on their own,” she says, “that’s the whole point of the group to spread awareness for mental health and for others to speak up when they need it most.”  

Up and coming events include Hope Day, which will take place on Wednesday, March 30th during lunch periods. Dellapina says that part of the day they will be “bringing in some mental and emotional dogs that people get to see.” The group will also have information about mental health resources available for students. It’s been recently announced that In the main gym, “there will be a mental health resource table where students can learn more about Hope Squad and receive useful resources.” 

Like Hope day, Unity day will have similar goals, and there will be many fun things planned for that day.  Neeley is “in charge of the playlist” on Unity day, “and I am super excited for that.” Unity Day will take place on Friday, April 22nd, but Hope Squad has yet to announce their plans for the day.

Even though Hope Squad is a new addition to the high school, they are already busy planning events to work toward their goals. Yates aspires that “with this group, people will become more aware of mental health and to be more comfortable to talk about it to help prevent suicide.”