DeKalb Educators Association Pitches In To Fund DMS New Student Assistance Program
AUBURN — A local organization recently helped give DeKalb Middle School an added tool for helping students and school counselors.
According to DMS Principal Kimberly Fifer, the DeKalb Education Association contributed seed money to fund a Student Assistance Program (SAP) for the school through the Otis R. Bowen Center for Human Services, Inc.
The Student Assistance Program is one of several Bowen Center programs that work in a sense like mental health insurance. Through a Student Assistance Program, students have access to a set number of free counseling sessions each year with Bowen Center therapists. The sessions are provided courtesy of an annual premium paid for by the school corporation. DeKalb Middle School is one of 17 northern Indiana schools who have a Bowen Center Student Assistance Program.
“We wanted to be able to put a program in place that will give our staff additional options to help a student in crisis,” said Fifer. “We didn’t have anything like that in DeKalb County and in order to do that we needed the finances to put it in place.”
“They didn’t have to look far,” said Paulette Bently, a public relations and marketing specialist for The Bowen Center. “She sought help in the community for the seed money to start the program and the DEA stepped up.”
Ryan Lengacher is a history teacher at DMS and is president of the DEA.
“Students often have issues that interfere with their education,” he said. “DeKalb Middle School does its absolute best to meet the academic, emotional, social, and physical needs of our students. Meeting the emotional needs of our students is sometimes very difficult. The Bowen Center's counseling services will be an excellent asset to help us meet the emotional needs of our students.”
According to Bently, school counselors also benefit from the program.
“A Bowen Student Assistance Program is designed to be an added tool for counselors to help them in their goal to ensure the mental health of all their students,” she said.
For any DMS students using their free sessions through the school’s Student Assistance Program, local professionals will be available through Bowen Center’s DeKalb County office located in Auburn and headed up by Director Trisha Prezbindowski.
“The community here is amazing,” said Prezbindowski. “There are so many individuals and organizations looking for ways they can give back to their community. We are very lucky to be able to be a part of such a kind and giving community.”
Founded in 1961, the Otis R. Bowen Center for Human Services, Inc., is a private not-for-profit, comprehensive community mental health center licensed by the State of Indiana Division of Mental Health. The center has 11 locations in 10 Northern Indiana counties, including Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash and Whitley.
PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured from left to right are Ryan Lengacher, President, DeKalb Education Association (DEA); Amanda Rice, DEA secretary; Trisha Prezbindowski, Director, Bowen Center’s DeKalb County office; Kimberly Fifer, DeKalb Middle School Principal; Paulette Bently, Bowen Center P.R./Marketing Specialist; Erin Howard, DEA treasurer and Wade Buchs, DEA vice president.
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