On April 4–8, Loyola’s Hope Squad hosted a special “Week of Hope” to spread positivity across campus and raise awareness for suicide prevention. Hope Squad is a student organization that seeks to prevent youth suicide through education and the destigmitization of mental illness. Hope Squads are implemented in high schools across the country as peer-to-peer mentorship programs that build a culture of care and support among students.
At Loyola, Hope Squad members are nominated by their peers to be mentored by school counselors and trained to recognize peers at risk for suicide. Research suggests that other students are usually the first to recognize at-risks friends. After a nomination process, parental approval and training, Loyola students are able to serve their community as a Hope Squad member.
The “Week of Hope” enabled Loyola’s Hope Squad to fulfill its mission of educating and fostering connectedness in our school community through fun and engaging activities during the week.
On Monday, April 4, the Loyola community was invited to create chalk drawings outside the Piazza. During flex periods, students were encouraged to write positive messages on the sidewalk.
On Tuesday, Hope Squad held a bake sale to benefit Elyssa’s Mission, a local organization that works to destigmatize mental illness. Students were also invited to make a “Chain of Hope” using construction paper chainlinks. Positive messages were written on each link to uplift Ramblers.
On Wednesday, students played Wordle and Kahoot and completed word searches in room 3. With these games, Loyola students were able to understand how they can support, or begin to recognize, friends that are at-risk.
On Thursday, the Hope Squad raffled off prizes during a game of Myth or Fact. Students were challenged to distinguish between common misconceptions and truths about mental illness.
And on Friday, Hope Squad partnered with Loyola’s S.A.V.E. Club for the annual Earth Day Fair writing Letters for Hope.