WATERTOWN – With the return of full-time education presenting additional challenges in schools, counselors have long waiting lists and lack the capacity to adequately respond to all student demands.
Pivot Prevention and Health Services seeks to alleviate some of the pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic through additional community and school services over the coming year.
Students reported increased stress and anxiety, disengagement from school, increased use of alcohol and other drugs, especially vaping tobacco and marijuana, and difficulty regulating behavior. problematic.
In a recent letter to community members and potential donors to the Pivot Foundation, it was noted that the organization has added four new positions and expanded two more this school year, but the needs continue to grow.
âWe have a formal partnership with many districts in the county and, for the past 30 years, we have had relationships with each of them at one time or another,â said William Bowman, executive director of Pivot. âUsually, before COVID, we would work in a 50/50 partnership so that we provided half of the resources and the school district could provide the other half, and we would be able to provide districts with a cost-effective prevention educator / advisor who would able to provide additional services in school districts.
âSince COVID hit,â he added, âthe need has been increased, the socio-emotional needs of students and staff are at a critical point, and so we added a few more positions, we got resources to do so. But the need is still great, so we would like to be able to meet it. “
For the next school year, Pivot’s goal is to raise $ 50,000. According to Bowman, the organization would like to raise funds for another full-time position that would likely be filled next school year.
Pivot’s primary mission is the prevention of drug addiction problems and, ultimately, addictions. The cornerstone of its programs is a two-pronged school-based approach: prevention counseling aimed at youth at increased risk for substance abuse problems, and prevention programs, taught universally in classrooms.
âThis year, we felt that school services for the coming year were where the most critical needs were,â Bowman said. âThis doesn’t mean that school-based services are essential and others are not. This is what we felt was the most necessary priority. “
Student Support Advisors provide information, referrals, and individual and group counseling. Pivot offers evidence-based programs in Jefferson County schools. The programs are designed to provide socio-emotional learning, teach students the skills to resist peer pressure and make healthy choices, develop greater confidence and self-esteem, and provide education about effects and consequences of substance use and abuse.
The goal of the Student Support Services program is to encourage adolescents to make positive lifestyle choices, develop healthy coping skills, and prevent alcohol and other problems. substances.
âOne of the things we’re really proud of at Pivot is that we can partner with so many schools and community organizations because if you want to prevent addiction issues you have to work together,â Mr Bowman said. “Partnership is the real value of what we do, and the more we can collaborate, the better off we will all be.”