• Employee Resources
  • Language

Sheriff's Seizure Fund Supports DCSD Teen Suicide Awareness Program

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock has donated $25,000 from money confiscated in drug deals and other organized crimes to a Douglas County School District program that combats teen suicide and bullying.

Sources of Strength,which seeks to prevent suicide, violence, bullying and substance abuse by training peers to know warning signs and connect at-risk friends to resources, operates in 12 district schools.

“What we see when our schools adopt Sources of Strength,” said Staci McCormack, the district's prevention and school culture coordinator, “is we all become much better at preventing suicide, acts of school violence, bullying and substance abuse.”

McCormack called the donation "super-exciting," saying it will help the district expand the program in the district.

State law allows law enforcement agencies to once a year gift to community programs up to $25,000 from their asset forfeiture funds, or money that has been seized from criminal activities.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has previously put that money towardY.E.S.S. — a program operated by the Sheriff's Office, neighboring law enforcement agencies and schools, which teaches students about teen relationships, internet safety and substance abuse.

Emerging issue

But suicide prevention has emerged as a key issue among youth.

Approximately two years ago, the Douglas County Youth Initiative,a group that coordinates youth services and asseses youths' needs began looking for ways to prevent teen suicide, said Marsha Alston,the initiative'syouth service program manager.

The program's 2015 Youth Congress, an annualevent where area students bring their tops concerns to local officials, also targeted suicide prevention, Alston said.

When the Youth Initiative learned that some Douglas County schools used Sources of Strength, it connected the program with the Sheriff's Office. So the initiative wrote a grant proposal. A panel consisting of the sheriff, a county commissioner and the district attorney chose Sources of Strength from among 6 applications.

“One life lost to suicide is too many,” Spurlock said in a written statement. “If I could contribute any amount of money to suicide prevention and only one life be saved, it is worth the money.”

A different lens

Sources of Strength, which has local chapters across the U.S. and Canada, trains anyone and everyone, from administrators to teachers to students or other caring adults, McCormack said.

“This is about all of us just having a different lens on when we go through our daily walk,” she said. “It helps really create a shift in the culture of the entire school.”

The peer-based program teaches people how to connect a friend in need with help, she said. That help can come in many forms. For a student, it may mean connecting a friend with a trusted adult.

Feedback has been positive, McCormack said. One middle school student reported theywouldn't have thought to connect a friendwith resources, assuming instead that listening to their struggle would be enough support, if it weren't for Sources of Strength. That, McCormack said, is an example of a culture shift.

So “to be able to use these kinds of dollars in such a supportive and positive be able to expand the work of Sources," Alston said, is "just wonderful."

January 26, 2017 | By jhatt | Category: Prevention and School Culture

District News

kids running outside as part of a race

DCSD is requesting parent input on the health and wellness of our students. Last year, DCSD received a large planning grant from Colorado Health Foundation in an effort to assess how the district supports students through the lens of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model (WSCC). The mission of this grant is to review the current state of DCSD's student health and wellness program, and then formulate a three to five-year plan based on stakeholders’ needs, the latest research, and best practices. As part of this process, we would like your input.

How are we doing?

We want to hear from you! How often do you prefer to receive email newsletters from DCSD? How can we improve the news and information you receive? This brief survey should only take a minute or two of your time. Thank you for giving us your input!

Tell us what you think, here!


glowing purple lights hover over trays of seedlings in a dark room

It may look like a plain, white shipping container was just parked on the backyard grounds of Mountain Vista High School. The contents of the container are anything but plain, though. Walking inside the container, different colors of ambient lighting glow, futuristic-looking equipment and tall towers are suspended from the ceiling, and the humidity level is set to 70 percent. The container has been recycled into a new kind of learning opportunity for students.