PHOENIX, Ariz. (May 3, 2022) – To mark Mental Health Awareness month, the Arizona Department of Education today announced $12.1 million in targeted funding for health and learning.
“We know students learn best when they feel their best mentally and physically,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. “We want every parent to feel confident, knowing that their kids are learning at their highest potential, and these investments will play an important role in achieving that goal.”
The funding will support:
• Valley of the Sun YMCA will receive $3 million to support the mental, physical, and behavioral health needs of students and educators, by providing memberships and expanding services such as diabetes prevention and sports programming.
• ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College will receive $2.8 million to implement Play On! Designed to offer after-school enrichment at fourteen elementary schools in Mesa Public Schools, the program promotes mental and physical health through active and inclusive games.
• notMYkid will receive $2 million to expand its mental and behavioral health services to 50,000 youth, parents, caregivers and school faculty. These services will focus particularly on serving Title-I schools, LGBTQ youth, and low-income students and their families.
• The BARR Center will receive $2 million to implement the BARR (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) model in selected schools. The BARR model allows K12 staff to better understand and build on students' strengths, proactively address the non-academic reasons a student may be falling behind in school and identify which resources they need to thrive.
• Playworks Arizona will receive $1.5 million to promote socialization skills and independent conflict resolution proficiency through gameplay. The dollars granted to Playworks will be used towards expanding their services to more Title-I schools in Arizona.
• Mindfulness First will receive $879,000 to expand services to schools providing supportive, age-appropriate education in mental health and mental health practices to help students regulate their reactions to stress and prepare them to thrive academically.
“Every day our YMCA’s provide programs for youth to build friendships, develop character and grow in spirit, mind & body. Support from the Arizona Department of Education is allowing for the expansion of youth wellness programs that will move the needle on childhood health,” said Bryan Madden, Valley of the Sun YMCA CEO.
“Our hope is that these dollars will be transformational for schools throughout the state,” said BARR Center founder and Executive Director Angela Jerabek. “Partnering with the Arizona Department of Education to expand the reach of BARR will allow us to focus even more on relationships to ensure each and every student succeeds.”
These investments build on last year’s $21 million announcement by Superintendent Hoffman funding the state’s school counselor and social workers wait lists. Since then, the state reported a near 20% reduction in the student to counselor ratio.
These projects are funded with dollars from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and are part of Arizona’s ARP School and Community Grantees. All funded projects share the goal of supporting schools, students, educators and families as they recover from the effects of the pandemic.