Project AWARE, is a historic partnership between the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, Mount Pleasant Public Schools and Shepherd Public Schools.

In year one Project AWARE, we placed additional mental health focused counselors in all three of our communities' schools to immediately increase all students' access to mental health services. In addition we held community events to begin to raise AWAREness of mental health issues, with a focus on better assisting students who have experienced trauma, and building the resilience of all students. This 9 Million dollar fully SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) funded grant also enabled us to train over 740 youth serving staff at SCIT, MPPS and SPS in the principles of Trauma Informed Schools. 

This is an important first step in improving our support for students to flourish and learn at school, because in the United States, more than 2/3rds of children have reported experiencing at least 1 trauma by the age of 16.1 

We are now in year 2 of the project, and are undertaking shared comprehensive planning to fully implement the Trauma Informed Resilient Schools Model by the end of 2023, and to further increase access to—and delivery of—mental health services to SCIT, MPPS, and SPS youth and families. This planning will not only allow us to address these issues more fully, but will also include the development of policies and practices to ensure the sustainability of these crucial changes within our communities.

1 Copeland, W.E., Keeler G., Angold, A., & Costello, E.J. (2007). Traumatic Events and Posttraumatic Stress in Childhood. Archives of General Psychiatry. 64(5), 577-584.

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