July 11, 2023

At the Denver Public Schools Foundation, our goal is to ensure our students have the materials and resources they need to reach their highest potential.  The A to Z Fund provides grants to individual schools for programs and activities that go beyond the limits of schools’ budgets and give students the chance to participate in enrichment opportunities. There is a growing and unmet need for mental health services for children and youth. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in five children and adolescents experience a mental health problem during their school years. DPS Foundation’s A to Z Fund provides a variety of support for students, including mental health.

One DPS educator who applied for an A to Z Fund grant is Lindsay McCool from Bear Valley International School (BVIS). Lindsay helps lead Bear Valley’s Mental Health and Restorative Culture Team. This team works to meet the mental health needs at BVIS by dividing their work into four different tiers. These tiers include school-wide culture days, coping skills groups, crisis support, and small group assessments and behavior plans for special education students.

This year, Bear Valley’s mental health team continued the implementation of a program called One Yeti, One Roar. The goal of this program is to celebrate all of the cultures, identities, languages and individuals within their school through education. Educator, Lindsay McCool applied for an A to Z Fund grant with the goal of supporting this program.

“The BVIS population is incredibly diverse – including students from different races, ethnicities, socio-economic backgrounds, and sexual orientations”, she said. “We see a need to make sure that each student is represented fairly within our school and that they feel seen and heard. We believe that by teaching diversity and the importance of acceptance and kindness, we are developing lifelong learners who possess empathy and acceptance of themselves and others.” The A to Z Fund grant will positively impact the One Yeti, One Roar program by supporting the whole child through confidence building, self-acceptance and self-awareness, as well as acceptance and awareness of each student’s peers.

This program aligns with many of the DPS Foundation core values, including Students First and Equity. The program puts all of the students first while focusing on equity. These two core values go hand in hand with all that the mental health team does for BVIS students.

The One Yeti, One Roar program also aligns with the core values of Collaboration and Fun. Students will have the opportunity to participate in lessons throughout the year by collaborating with each other to educate their peers. “For example, we will ask members of our Black Student Union to create a lesson together, as well as members of our Gay Straight Alliance to develop another lesson”, the BVIS educator said.

Initiatives such as A to Z Fund help strengthen Bear Valley’s commitment to ensuring all students are seen and heard, while also teaching them the importance of lifelong skills such as acceptance and kindness. Thank you to all donors for making these opportunities possible for our students!

Samantha Rogan
Events and Communications Specialist