From across Fall River, they came to Atlantis Charter School with one thing on their mind: mental health.
On March 29, Atlantis hosted a meeting of the Fall River Youth Empowerment Task Force. Members represent schools, agencies and organizations across the city. The task force was created in early winter in response to the tragic death of a Fall River elementary school student. The group meets monthly to address issues of mental wellness, social-emotional learning, suicide prevention, and bullying prevention.
“There are a tremendous amount of resources that exist in our community,” said Gabriela Birmingham, district leader of Atlantis Charter School. “One of the priorities of this task force is to make sure everyone in the community is aware of those resources and that families have access to them.”
The task force is also committed to making sure schools provide education around social-emotional learning, not just bulling, but also social media and character education.
“This is a goal all of the Fall River schools are committed to achieving,” Birmingham said. “Atlantis has always placed a strong emphasis on social-emotional wellness and we offer many resources to our students and families. This task force gives school leaders and community leaders an opportunity to come together and see what each other is doing to combat the problem. It also provides an opportunity for schools to share resources to better help our students and families.”
The task force is planning a school anti-bullying day on May 3, followed by a community-wide event on May 4 which will start with a peace march beginning at Fonseca Elementary School at 11:30am and end at the Fall River Boys and Girls Club. This free, community event will then take place at the Boys and Girls Club from 12-2:00pm and will be geared toward children, youth and families in Fall River. It will be a fun afternoon full of engaging activities for families, with information available on the topics of bullying and social-emotional wellness.
“We need to address mental health as a larger community and recognize that this is a systemic issue,” Birmingham said. “We should not be asking how can we help Atlantis kids, or how can we help Diman kids, or how can we help Durfee kids, but rather how can we help all of our kids because we truly all are in this together in our Fall River community.”
Parents can request a Fall River Community Resource book published by United Neighbors of Fall River by contacting Atlantis at (508) 646-6410.
The Fall River Youth Empowerment Task Force has had representation from the following partners:
|Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School
City of Fall River, Youth Services
United Neighbors of Fall River
Fall River Old Colony YMCA
Boys and Girls Club of Fall River
Volunteers of America, Pathways to Justice Careers
Greater Fall River Re-Creation
Greater Fall River Partners for a Healthier Community
Bristol County District Attorney’s Office
|Fall River Department of Children and Families
Fall River Public Schools
Atlantis Charter School
Fall River Diocese
Fall River Police Department
Fall River Herald News
Fall River Fire Department
Senator Michael Rodrigues’s Office
Representative Carole Fiola’s Office
Katie Brown Educational Program