Cincinnati, Ohio, September 24, 2019 – Every day at Saint Ursula Academy, students are encouraged to build a better world. The Hope Squad, a new initiative beginning with the current 2019-2020 school year, works daily to support this goal by providing a framework for students to reach out to peers if they are struggling with mental health.
Saint Ursula Academy worked with the Greater Cincinnati Grant Us Hope Organization to bring the Hope Squad to SUA. Hope Squad is an evidence-based peer-to-peer suicide prevention program that teaches students, staff, and community members to recognize the signs of suicide and equips them with the tools to connect at-risk students with appropriate mental health resources. Hope Squad members were nominated by their peers as individuals who are empathetic, helpful, trustworthy, good listeners, and confident young women.
Rose Widmeyer ’20 of Madeira was honored to be selected as a Hope Squad member. "I have friends and family who have been affected by mental health issues. I think that, as a member of the Hope Squad, I can help alleviate some of the pain of dealing with mental illness by promoting self-worth and a positive self-image,” said Widmeyer.
All members of the Hope Squad are supported by trained staff members, SUA counselor Cathy Sherrick, Assistant Principal Sara Utecht and teachers Arielle Balz, Kathy Hammond, Andy Hittle and Mark Simcoe. The Hope Squad was introduced to the entire student body as members of the SUA Community who are willing to listen and support anyone who needs encouragement or motivation during the difficult teenage years.
Maya Goertemoeller ’20 of Monfort Heights is happy to be part of the SUA Hope Squad. "I want to pursue a career in the health field and I am passionate about treating people holistically. I think it is important to make sure others are doing okay, not only physically, but mentally as well,” says Goertemoeller.
The SUA Hope Squad recently launched a social media campaign to share positivity among their peers via Instagram. Additionally, in order to help raise awareness for suicide prevention and mental health issues, the Hope Squad will participate in the “Out of the Darkness Walk” to be held on October 13 at Sawyer Point.
Saint Ursula Academy recognizes the importance of student mental health and is fortunate to be among more than 50 schools in the Greater Cincinnati area to implement this national school-based peer-to-peer suicide prevention program.
For more information visit: https://www.grantushope.org/ or https://hopesquad.com/.
Saint Ursula Academy is a Catholic, college-preparatory, secondary school for young women known for academic excellence and rich tradition. Saint Ursula welcomes students from more than 90 grade schools in the Greater Cincinnati area. The Academy is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Blue Ribbon School. The campus, located at 1339 E. McMillan Street in East Walnut Hills has been the home of Saint Ursula Academy and Convent since 1910. The Class of 2019 earned college scholarships totaling more than $25-million.
Photo Caption: Back Row L-R: Cathy Sherrick, Andy Hittle, Lily Clare Hines, Ellie Olson, Saige Smith, Sylvie O'Connor, Luci Hittle, Yasmeen Porter, Abby More , Gretchen Fesenmeier, Peyton Allen, Mark Simcoe Front Row L-R: Stephanie Ahrnsen, Isabella Glynn, Nicola Settle, Rose Widmeyer, Maya Goertemoeller, Avery Glynn, Adreanna Oelrich, Sophia Nugent, Kathy Hammond Absent/missing: Anna Voelkerding and Arielle Balz