With help from the Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Grant, Sodus Central School District in Wayne County, New York has utilized the “Community Schools strategy” to help youth and families thrive. The Community School strategy is built on partnerships with community organizations to provide resources so that all families and youth can have access to services and supports, such as food pantries, clothing closets, mental health services, and physical health clinics. Community School coordinators and teams help to identify community assets, needs, and gaps, and connect students and families with providers and resources to address those needs.
As a rural community, Sodus Central Schools organically adopted this strategy, as they are limited in the amount of community institutions and resource hubs in the area. By providing a physical space and enhanced access to resources, providers were able to treat and support more students and families that they otherwise would not meet.
The impact of the Community Schools strategy in Sodus can be seen in the overall reduction of risk factors for students and families, and an increase in referrals and services provided. This is particularly significant in the wake of increased poverty and pandemic-related stresses currently afflicting the area. Sodus recognizes the power of strong collaborative efforts to reduce the impact of adverse childhood experiences and leverage community supports.
To learn more about community schools, visit the Community Schools and National Center for Community Schools websites. For more information about Community Schools in New York state, visit Home | Guidance and Training | NYS Community Schools TAC , Finger Lakes Community Schools (flxcommunityschools.org), Wayne County Community Schools and listen to Sodus Central School’s episode of In Session.