Developing peer leaders

Sources of Strength is a program to help build a more positive climate in school.


Advocacy. A student works on a poster that will be displayed with the Sources of Strength model. “It’s really helpful,” BHS senior Ava Boyer said. “It makes you happy and makes you feel good.”

Every Tuesday in the BHS library, Sources of Strength holds a weekly meeting during the school day. In their meetings, they coordinate ways to promote awareness of healthy habits and offer connections toward fellow peers.

Sources of Strength is a school-wide wellness program that has a “mission to provide high quality prevention for suicide, violence, substance abuse and risky behaviors by training, supporting and empowering peer leaders and caring adults.” 

“We do a lot of planning, sometimes we go around and hang up posters, we do games a lot, we do events,” BHS senior Morgan Hoff said. “We have orientation where we do games and have food. Today there was a form in advisory that we planned.” 

The procedure to join Sources of Strength is unique in comparison to most other clubs at BHS. Most students are invited and have to complete a training session, however invitation is not the only way to join the club. Students who want to join can still do so by talking to the advisors Angela Seiwert or Hallie Ford. Most members who join are motivated to do so in their own ways. 

“I first joined when I was a freshman because my sister was in it,” Hoff said. “She said, ‘I think you’d like this [Sources of Strength], you should be in it with me,’ and I said ‘ok,’ because I had nothing better to do.”

Sources of Strength follows a model that promotes multiple sources of support. These sources are expanded on for students to rely on. The model highlights having mentors, participating in healthy activities, and prioritizing mental health. 

“It [The Sources of Strength model] to me honestly means how to keep yourself in good mental health,” BHS senior Ava Boyer said. “Like what makes you happy in life, what you should be focusing on, and just the important stuff for your mental health to make you happy.” 

The club is almost completely student-led, meaning students make the decisions on what to do in order to strengthen the school environment with the help of advisors. Allowing students to take the head on making decisions helps develop peer leaders. 

“Over the years we’ve gotten more trusted with a lot of the Sources of Strength stuff,” Hoff said. “The older we get, the more privilege we have with helping stuff.” 

Part of the planning the organization does is aimed toward promoting their message. They promote their message throughout the school by doing things such as putting up posters or selling hot chocolate in the foyer. 

“We’re currently making a video about what gives you strength and what are you thankful for.” Boyer said. “It should be coming out soon.” 

While the core of Sources of Strength remains true to being a school-wide wellness program for prevention, it has also developed more connections over the years. 

“It [Sources of Strength] started out as suicide prevention,” Hoff said. “But has changed over the years and is now is more just like mental health, the good side of mental health, like advocating for positvity.”