“Too many of these children suffer in silence,” says Canyons District’s Responsive Services Director BJ Weller, “and the vast majority, an estimated 80 percent, don’t receive the help they need.”
Because no parent should feel helpless to combat a child’s feelings of hopelessness, Canyons District is dedicating its annual holiday Gathering for Good donation drive to covering the costs of mental health services for uninsured and underinsured student families. In lieu of a holiday office party, central office staff and administrators will come together on the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 12 to raise money through a silent auction to be pooled with matching funds to help CSD’s student families pay for needed mental health referrals and services.
Patrons also can participate through the non-profit charitable arm of the District, the Canyons Education Foundation, which accepts tax-deductible donations.
Anxiety and depression are on the rise among America’s youth, an issue that seven-in-ten teens characterize as “a major problem,” according to the Pew Research Center. The roots of the problem, including the scarcity of available care, are complex and not something schools can shoulder alone.
But left unaddressed, mental health and behavioral problems can pose challenges for schools in realizing their educational mission and goals. “Students struggle to learn when they’re feeling anxious, fearful or depressed,” Weller says. “If a child is too sad or mad, they can’t add.”
Canyons has invested heavily in new behavioral supports and counseling staff. School counselors, psychologists and nurses work hard to fill students’ emotional buckets, build their resilience, and equip them with coping mechanisms. But too many families lack adequate access to mental health care, barring them from getting the extra help their children so desperately need.
In addition to covering the costs of behavioral care, proceeds raised through the donation drive also will benefit students and families residing at The Road Home homeless shelter in Midvale by covering services and supports that aren’t covered by federal funding. Many CSD schools also sponsor charitable campaigns to which anyone can contribute (see list below).
How can you help?
School Holiday Fundraisers
Altara: canned food drive
Bell View: coat drive and clothing and toy exchange
Bella Vista: food and coat drive
Brookwood: raising money to fund vaccinations through the Ouelessebougou Alliance
Crescent: canned food drive benefitting the Utah Food Bank
East Sandy: food drive benefitting the Utah Food Bank
Granite: food drive benefitting Utah Food Bank
Lone Peak: collecting pennies for leukemia and lymphoma patients
Midvale: “Community Candles of Light” campaign to combine monetary and in-kind donations benefiting families in need.
Oak Hollow: book drive
Oakdale: food drive
Park Lane: collecting plush animals with Bank of American Fork for children in crisis
Ridgecrest: winter clothing drive benefitting The Road Home shelter
Sunrise: food drive benefitting the Utah Food Bank
Willow Springs: stuff-the-stocking drive benefitting residents of The Road Home shelter
Albion Middle: cereal drive for neighboring elementary school
Draper Park Middle: October sock drive benefitting neighboring elementary schools
Indian Hills Middle: contributing to the Make-A-Wish program
Mount Jordan Middle: canned food drive
Corner Canyon High: contributing to the Make-A-Wish program