ThompsonCARES Hosts Third Annual Wellness Night

Last month, ThompsonCARES hosted their third annual Wellness Night, an event focusing on mental health resources and awareness for the Thompson School District students, parents, and staff. Resiliency was the theme of this year’s Wellness Night.

The event was composed of four student sessions, four adult sessions on topics concerning youth, and a special session for educators on the importance of gender-neutral language. Betsy Cairo, the executive director of Look Both Ways, was a speaker for the educator session as well as the student session on healthy relationships. “I was a presenter to both faculty and youth. I had such a good time presenting to both of these groups,” Cairo said. “The kids were so eager to participate and it made it so fun to interact with them. Presenting to the faculty was such a treat.”

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Luke Walker, a social work intern with the district, had the opportunity to attend Betsy Cairo’s educator session. He found the session to be extremely informative and important in today’s world: “Cairo’s session gave me new perspectives on gender identity and helped to shift my mindset. I would encourage everyone to learn more about gender identity and gender-neutral language if they ever get the opportunity because it is such an important topic especially with the way that our world is evolving.” Cairo said that she is “hopeful that more professional development can be done in the arena of transgender youth.”

Among other speakers was Brandon Maynard, a co-responder with the Loveland Police Department. “I had the delight of speaking to many parents and discussing topics of suicidality and depression with adolescents,” said Maynard. “During my lectures, attendees had excellent questions and insights that really spoke to the passion of supporting the wellness of the next generation.”

In between sessions, attendees could browse the resource fair. Various resource tables were set up to educate the TSD community about the different resources that are available in the Loveland area including Betsy Cairo’s organization, Look Both Ways. Other resources that were represented included Hearts & Horses, SAVA, SummitStone Health Partners, 3 Hopeful Hearts, and the Loveland PD Crisis Team. The resource fair provided an opportunity for students, parents, educators, and community members to learn about resources that they may have been unaware of beforehand. Brandon Maynard shared the following in regards to the resource fair, “As a professional, I learned a lot, myself on the resources and support offered for adolescents in the Loveland Community. Additionally, I work as a co-responder with the Loveland Police Department, and was able to provide additional resources and obtain some for the various teens served in the community.”

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The night ended with a moving speech from keynote speaker and former principal of Columbine High School, Frank DeAngelis. DeAngelis spoke about his personal experience during the Columbine shooting and the effects of that traumatic event for him and his students. He spoke about the resiliency that he and his students had to have to carry on. It was a powerful way to end an already illuminating night.

It was encouraging to see how many staff, families and community members care about mental health and want to educate themselves about the subject. “I found it inspiring to see so many different walks of life attend this event,” Maynard said. “Everyone was very friendly, and supportive of the many different providers, parents, and organizers at the event.  I was honored to present, and anticipate, with great enthusiasm, for next year’s event.”

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Thank you again to everyone who was there and helped to make it such a successful event. If you couldn’t attend Wellness Night this year, we hope to see you next year!

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