Students in classroom

Hope Only Takes a Minute

By Lisa Holmquist, Social Worker at PACT Charter School 
Published December 3, 2019

 

Recently during a group activity, school staff were asked to reflect on why each of us chose to work in an educational setting. We were tasked to identify one word that would encompass all the reasons we chose our particular field. The word I chose was "hope.” I could just as easily have chosen purpose, inspiration, impact, encouragement, or resilience, but hope seemed the best. According to Christopher Reeve (a.k.a, Superman), "Once you choose hope, anything's possible." Students need to believe that anything is possible.  

Webster defines hope as the following: “(1) To want something to happen or be true; (2) Trust, Reliance.” Students have to want something to happen and have someone to trust. Desmond Tutu says, "Hope can see that there is light despite all of the darkness." Students need their hope awakened, to see past the darkness of the issues they may be facing. Hope needs to be realized for connection to happen, and connection happens when a caring adult is available. 

As a school social worker, I am tasked with helping to identify barriers that students face and working to make that connection. Often it starts as a knock on the door and a head popping in, saying, "Hey, do you have a minute?" The connection has occurred, and HOPE is awakened. 

It may be that a student is experiencing a mental health crisis. For a mental health crisis, local counties have a Crisis Response Team. These crisis response teams are available 24/7 and will come into the home or a school setting at the request of a parent/guardian:

  1. NAMI Minnesota provides resources for youth facing mental health issues. 
  2. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also has a wealth of resources. 
  3. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-273-talk. 
  4. The Crisis Text Line is also available by texting “HOME” to 741741.

It may be that a student is experiencing homelessness and may need interventions in place to assist them with graduating as the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) mandates. If a youth is "not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian," the McKinney-Vento Act defines the youth as an unaccompanied youth [42 U.S.C. *114343a(6). Finding out that a student is living as an "unaccompanied youth" begins a cycle of connecting them with resources to meet their physical, housing, safety, and academic needs. Students experiencing homelessness often have a very difficult time demonstrating any ability to focus on academics if they do not feel safe or have any hope. They may not have the needed supplies to do a required assignment such as computers or access to the Internet. HOPE 4 Youth is a local resource that can help unaccompanied youth ages 16-23. This organization provides services including food, clothes, hygiene products, showers, meals, and laundry facilities. They also help students access health and wellness services.

If the physical, safety and emotional needs of students can be met, then the academic needs will be better addressed. It does not take long to get connected. HOPE only takes a minute.

 

 

 

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PACT Charter School
7250 East Ramsey Parkway
Ramsey, MN 55303

 

Phone: 763-712-4200
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