The Ossining School District has received a $160,000 grant from the Westchester Community Foundation for a yearlong Mental Health Outreach Project in partnership with the Peekskill School District.
The funding will help Ossining and Peekskill respond to an unanticipated and growing need for support in the districts. Hundreds of new families have registered in the districts during the Covid-19 pandemic. The incoming students and families, who come from all walks of life, need social and emotional support due to difficult and poor socioeconomic conditions, trauma from loss and grief, transition, Covid-related challenges and other factors.
“The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has been a period of tremendous change, challenge and uncertainty for families,” said Dr. Raymond Sanchez, Ossining superintendent of schools. “We want to provide our new families all the assistance and support they need as we welcome them into the district. This grant will help us ensure better social, emotional and academic outcomes for our scholars.”
The districts will collaborate with the Guidance Center of Westchester to provide behavioral health specialists. The Mental Health Support Project will use a three-tier approach that includes an initial mental health screening and needs assessment, an afterschool clinical support team, and pop-up mental health information and referral booths.
The Westchester Community Foundation and the Ossining and Peekskill school districts believe that by supporting students and families, removing barriers to school attendance and increasing access to supports and resources, they will be able to promote student and family wellness. This, in turn, offers these students the chance to succeed academically and achieve their goals.