Live 5 anchor raising money for new mental health program in Title I schools

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – A Lowcountry nonprofit working in Title I schools is kicking of a fundraising event Tuesday for a new mental health program for the hundreds of students they serve.

Charleston Hope serves Lowcountry Title I schools that have a student population rate of 90-100% of students living at or below the federal poverty line.

The organization currently serves around 200 students in Mitchell Elementary and around 300 at Sanders-Clyde Elementary on a daily basis.

Live 5 News anchor Michal Higdon and seven others in the Lowcountry have been selected as Charleston Hope Heroes and will partner with the organization to help raise the money.

The goal this year is to raise $20,000 for a new Mental Health Program.

Live 5 News anchor Michal Higdon will join seven others in raising money for Charleston Hope as...
Live 5 News anchor Michal Higdon will join seven others in raising money for Charleston Hope as a “Charleston Hope Hero.”(Live 5)

“We have had counselors that are interns getting their masters in counseling receiving hours and working with our students one-on-one and individual groups,” Charleston Hope Program and Operations Manager Kendall Biga says. “This year we’re excited to expand to that program to hire licensed professional counselors and social workers to work with our students.”

Charleston Hope is piloting the program at Mitchell Elementary starting in August. It is working with school administration, counselors, and district leaders to create a model that is sustainable and effective.

“Our schools receive, through the district, one mental health counselor that comes one day a week which is not enough to service the needs of our students which have just grown with the pandemic and all of the trauma that our students experience,” Biga says. “A lot of them are in need of more mental health supports than they’re receiving.”

The program will follow the Safe & Supportive Learning School-Based Mental Health Program Model and will implement the following Tiers of Support:

  • Tier 1: Universal mental health promotion for all students and teachers via the mission of Charleston Hope including our Step-In Girls Program and the support of social emotional curriculum implemented by the school district
  • Tier 2: Selective Services for students identified as at risk for a mental health concern or program, assessed via CANS-EI or other district assessment. Services will be provided by Charleston Hope Master’s Level Student Interns from The Citadel, Charleston Southern University, and Webster University. Sessions will be during and after the school day.
  • Tier 3: Indicated Services for individual students who already display a mental health concern or program determined by the CANS-EI or district assessment; services will be provided by contracted Licenses Professional Counselors from the community and local agencies. Sessions will take place after school and will include body-based strategies/activities.

Click here to donate. For those who donate, here is a breakdown of where donations go:

  • Program Coordinator to oversee the program, manage counseling sessions, and serve as a student advocate for students mental health
  • Session fees for contracted licensed professional counselors, psychologists, and social workers
  • Program Materials
  • Assessment and trauma-informed training for staff and interns

Charleston Hope’s mission is focused on intentionality, relationships, and empowerment. It takes a village to raise a child, any child, and Charleston Hope is committed to being a part of that village. The success and impact of the organization is because of, and dedicated to, faithful supporters, passionate teachers, and inspiring students.

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