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Toth Time ep. 6
Toth Time ep. 6
February 9, 2024

Hope Squad offers aid for students in need

Hope Squad was built by educators with the help of mental health professionals.  The club is part of 900+ schools across the globe. 
Photo belongs to https://hopesquad.com/
Hope Squad was built by educators with the help of mental health professionals. The club is part of 900+ schools across the globe. Photo belongs to https://hopesquad.com/

Located in room 1113, the Hope Squad room fills the school halls with positivity and hope. Suicide Week took place Sept. 11- 15, 2023.

“Hope Squad, to me, is a program of humans loving humans with everything in their hearts,” junior Mackenzie Kingston said. “This peer-to-peer mental health organization was put into our schools due to the devastating losses of our students over the years, and I am so thankful for what it has been able to become.” 

Caroline Stocksdale leads the organization, “ It is an honor to be the advisor for Walnut Grove’s Hope Squad.” Stocksdale said. “My heart’s mission has always been to see, hear, and love every student I encounter.”

Members of the Hope Squad organization are nominated by their peers. Junior Hadley Oofnhele is one of the people who was nominated and stayed.

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“I chose to continue and take the class because I think it is essential that we talk about suicide, especially as a high schooler,” Offnhele said. “And I thought it was very important to be a part of that.”

Hope Squad is a national organization. The group was established when founder Dr. Hudnall discovered the impact of positive peer-to-peer organizations.

“I never could understand why more wasn’t being done,” Kensington said. “So you could imagine my passion when Hope Squad was introduced.”

Kensington is another member of Hope Squad. She, too, finds passion in helping others and has dedicated herself to this organization. 

“Hope Squad became a vital part of my life about five years ago due to the impact suicide and mental health has had on me,” Kensington said. “I directly have been affected by suicide and mental health.”

 Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death in the U.S. It is also the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-old Americans.

“Suicide is often viewed as a taboo topic,” Stocksdale said. “But it is something that needs to be talked about.”

Hope Squad prepared for suicide week by posting resources on their social media pages and having students spread affirmations and kind words throughout the school through posters and notecards. 

“To spread awareness about suicide, Hope Squad had the students participate in activities such as the clothespin activity,” Oofnhele said. “In which words of affirmation and hope are written on a clothespin passed around and stuck to others to spread kindness.”

Members of the group are coming up with fun ways to talk about mental health and get rid of the stigma. 

“I am passionate about advocating for one’s mental health,” Stocksdale said. “As it is just as important as one’s physical health.”

The program aims to reduce youth suicide through education, training, and peer communication.

 “Even if only one student reaps something out of this week, we are celebrating,” Kensington said.  “Everyone has mental health. Thus, we are here for everyone!”

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About the Contributor
Ximena Castro Pinon, Copy Editor
Ximena Castro is a sophomore and this is her first year writing for Wildcats Wired. She spent one year as a photojournalist on Eagle Nation Online at Prosper High School. She is currently a sports editor and copy editor. She is a student leader of the Walnut Grove band, a member of student council, HOSA, and part of the Tri-M Honor Society. Outside of school, she enjoys running, photography, traveling, and spending time with friends.
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