LaMoille School District, Arukah secure grant to help mental health of local schools

LaMOILLE – LaMoille School District 303 and Arukah Institute of Healing developed and submitted a grant in October to bring much-needed mental health support and services to seven local schools in Bureau and LaSalle counties. These participating schools include Bureau Valley High School, DePue School District 103, Hall High School, LaMoille School District 303, Mendota High School, Princeton High School and Ottawa High School. The grant, totaling $6.86 million for five years, was awarded on Dec. 27, 2022.

LaMoille Interim Superintendent Jay K. McCracken stated, “We are deeply grateful to our school counselor, Katie Shevokas, and Dr. Scruggs and Dawn Conerton at Arukah for securing this amazing grant. Most importantly, hundreds of students in Bureau and La Salle counties will receive the social work/mental health services they desperately need. The funding will assist our seven participating school districts as they provide proactive help to our area youth. Our LaMoille Board of Education, administration, and staff are proud to serve a key role in this incredible grant program, and we express deep appreciation to Arukah and participating schools who made this dream a reality.”

Dr. Sarah Scruggs, Chief Executive Officer of Arukah remarked, “We are thrilled to partner with LaMoille and participating schools to secure this much-needed funding. Along with developing important collaborations and vital resources for students, my hope is that this increases community awareness of the struggles our kids face every day. Our Bureau and LaSalle County youth have markedly higher rates of poverty and chronic absenteeism relative to State of Illinois and National averages. Teens in our area also have higher alcohol and marijuana usage, suicide ideation, and prolonged feelings of extreme sadness. We saw these data as a cry for help, and we knew we needed to be involved.”

The Project Director will be Dawn Conerton from the Arukah Institute of Healing, and the School SEL Liaison will be Katie Shevokas from LaMoille School District. The purpose of this grant is to increase capacity of school-based mental health providers and increase access for youth (12-18 years) to timely and appropriate mental health intervention in participating schools. The grant begins in January 2023.

For more information, contact Dawn Conerton at [email protected].

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