HONOLULU - More than 30,000 public school students on Oahu and the Big Island will be the initial beneficiaries of a total of $12.7 million in federal infrastructure grants recently awarded to the Hawaii State Department of Education to promote safety and address mental health issues of youth.
The DOE's annual $1.9 million Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) and $608,901 School Climate Transformation grants will help increase awareness of mental health issues, enhance early intervention systems, and connect children and families with services.
The grants are part of the White House's "Now is the Time" initiative to keep schools safer and increase access to mental-health programs.
Funds will be spent over five years in the Nanakuli-Waianae (NW) and Leilehua-Mililani-Waialua (LMW) complex areas on Oahu, as well as in the Kau-Keaau-Pahoa (KKP) complex on the Big Island. All areas are considered high-needs, with NW and KKP serving large populations of native Hawaiians, Pacific islanders and disadvantage students, and LMW enrolling the greatest number of military-dependents in Hawaii.
Staff will receive training and assistance in evidence-based mental health interventions, case management, data collection and analysis, anti-bullying initiatives, and strategies to engage families and augment community resources.
The goal is to foster community partnerships and state interagency collaboration as a way to build capacity, integrate and expand improved services statewide across the education, mental health, juvenile justice and law enforcement sectors.
"The social, emotional and behavioral well-being of our students is crucial to ensure they come to school ready to learn and maximize their opportunities," said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "We look forward to building on our systems of support, increasing family outreach and collaborating with partner agencies."
For more information about School Climate Transformation grants, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/schoolclimatelea/index.html. Details about the Project AWARE grants can be found at http://www.samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/sm-14-019.