RED BANK, NJ: The School-Based Youth Services Program (SBYSP) The Source, has been a part of Red Bank High School for over 21 years and is committed to supporting the mental health, well-being, and educational success of all students.

Salaries and benefits of the counseling staff are funded through a grant from the State of New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Office of School Linked Services. 

All programs that are run through The Source are free of charge.

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The Source continues its programming and services whether it is in person or virtually despite the many challenges of 2020.

Here’s how they are making a difference and what they are doing during these extraordinary times:

● Continuing comprehensive counseling services via tele-health or in-person 

● Visits with Riley, AKA CGC, AIR Certified Therapy Dog, virtually and in-person

● Communicating via website: (www.thesourcerbrhs.org) with access to resources/information

● Empowering and educating students with a Student Resource Google Classroom 

● Offering a virtual community tutoring program 

● Delivering programming such as Signs of Suicide 

● Running virtual clubs (Teen Outreach Program, Boys to Men, Dreamers, Gender Sexuality Alliance)

● Providing Community Service Projects and Volunteer Opportunities (Holiday Cheer, Ridge Road Run Ambassador Program, Food Drives)

● Ensuring basic needs of students are met (food, shelter/rent, clothing, batteries)

● Collaborating with community partners on a new life skills program

● Surveying students to ensure their voices are heard and their social emotional needs are addressed

“We’ve been able to adjust to the changing landscape of needs in and outside the building,” said Suzanne Keller, Supervisor of the Source and Freshman Academy at RBRHS.

The Source has had over 300 referrals since the beginning of the school year. “More and more students are coming to us with feelings of anxiety, depression and stating they feel disconnected,” Keller said.

Counselors are assessing and meeting with students either in person or virtually. They are working with teachers to ensure that all students who need help are heard.

Elizabeth Heinemann a RBRHS graduate said it best: "If you saw me from the outside you would have never known the entirety of what I was dealing with, and I am not a single or uncommon case. I love my parents, but like many other teenagers I didn't feel comfortable enough to approach them about what I was going through. The Source provides a way for the multitudes of teenage boys and girls like me who desperately need help but don't have the ability to receive it, have no idea where to start, and are too deep in, to even know they have a problem."

The Source has created various opportunities for students to be actively connected to the school and the greater school community. They run a variety of clubs, currently meeting virtually: Teen Outreach Program, Boys to Men, Dreamers, and Gender Sexuality Alliance. They also run community service projects such as spreading positive messages of holiday cheer to those in need, food and basic need drives and the creation of the Ridge Road Run Ambassador program to help end the stigma of mental illness.

Parents are encouraged to view the Google Classroom to see all the information and opportunities that are available. All students have access to an online community-tutoring program as well as information on mindfulness, social justice issues, podcasts and good news and gratitude. Similar resources can be found on The Source website.

“All of this comes at a cost. We are relying on the generosity of the community and others this year. We had to cancel our 20th Anniversary Fundraiser last spring because of Covid-19, and that set the Source Foundation back financially. In a time when students and the greater school community have been reaching out for help more and more, we really need to be growing our staff and services, not cutting them back,” said Keller.

In addition to fighting to restore funding to the School-Based Youth Services Program, The Source is asking for your help to keep this critical program going strong.

Donations to the Source Foundation can be mailed to The Source, Red Bank Regional High School, 101 Ridge Road, Little Silver, NJ 07739 or via the website: www.thesourcerbrhs.org

To quote Frederick Douglas, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.”

And remember; don’t give until it hurts.  Give until it feels good!

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