Indian Prairie District 204 will use a $500,000 grant from Edward-Elmhurst Health to fund afterschool and weekend mental health therapy sessions at four schools.
School therapists will begin working with students and families at the end of the month at schools with the highest number of low-income students: Fischer and Granger middle schools, both in Aurora, Georgetown Elementary in Aurora and Longwood Elementary in Naperville.
“There has been outstanding work and effort to get this done and it supports our families with great no cost services,” School Board President Laurie Donahue said at last week’s board meeting, where the grant was announced. “It’s incredible to offer that for our students. I wish we could do it everywhere but this is a great start.”
The district hopes to find enough funds in the future to provide the Care Clinic program at all its academic buildings, including high schools.
Therapy sessions will last 45 minutes and are available on Tuesday nights and Saturday mornings, officials said.
They will be advertised through flyers and postcards distributed to families. District staff said they also will get the word out by having community events featuring mental health guest speakers.
After receiving 43 applications from therapy groups and clinics, the district narrowed their list to nine and will be able to provide four Spanish speaking therapists.
Board member Supna Jain said the program reflects the district’s beliefs.
“It’s a testament to our district and our staff, administrators and teachers that work here,” Jain said. “It’s kind of a dream come true.”
Joseph Ruzich is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.