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Sourcewell Launches Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative; Applications Open for Hope Squads to be Started in Five School Districts

Sourcewell CEO Chad Coauette speaks during the General Session at the 2024 AASA Conference on Friday, Feb. 15, 2024 in San Diego, CA. Photo by Sandy Huffaker.

Sourcewell, AASA’s government cooperative procurement partner, and AASA are launching a program in partnership with Hope Squad to award five school districts the opportunity to start a suicide prevention program known as a Hope Squad.

Sourcewell’s CEO, Chad Coauette, made the announcement during the 2nd General Session of the AASA national conference on Friday.

Hope Squads are a purposeful, powerful, evidence-based peer suicide prevention program. The winning grantees will receive funding to run these programs at the high school, middle school and elementary school levels.

(Winning school system will be able to begin a Hope Squad in three different types of schools, including (a) two elementary schools and one middle school, (b) three elementary schools, (c) one elementary school and two middle schools, (d) three middle schools or (e) two high schools with no elementary school or middle school.)

The awards will go to one district in each of the following time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific, plus one in Sourcewell’s five-county service area in Minnesota, which covers Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.

Hope Squad is a school-based, peer-to-peer, suicide prevention program that empowers trained and mentored students nominated by their peers to perform acts of intentional outreach. This comprehensive program supports elementary, middle, and high school students through an evidenced-based gatekeeper curriculum. 

In addition to the many positive impacts Hope Squads have on youth suicide prevention, they are nationally known for their ability to connect students with each other and for encouraging mental wellness and creating a safe school environment.

For more information about the Hope Squad program, click here. Also, an informational webinar will take place at 2 p.m. ET on Feb. 27 to learn specifics about the program and implementation from two superintendents with a Hope Squad in their districts and two student members of the Hope Squad Advisory Council. A recording of the session will be posted on the Hope Squad award program website by Feb. 29.

To apply for a Hope Squad award, click here. Applications are open.

For over 15 years, Sourcewell has been AASA’s government cooperative procurement partner. To date, the agency has competitively solicited and awarded hundreds of contracts on behalf of 50,000 entities.

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