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Hope & Strength to Debut at High Schools in 2024-2025 School Year

  • Mental Wellness
Hope & Strength to Debut at High Schools in 2024-2025 School Year

Lakota Local Schools will introduce a new program called Hope and Strength at its high school campuses for the 2024-2025 school year. The program will follow the same evidence-based curriculum used for its junior schools' Sources of Strength program and will replace the current Hope Squad. Please read on to review the letter from Interim Executive Director of Pupil Personnel Services Wyetta Hayden to families of students in grades 8-12.

Dear Parents and Guardians of Students in Grades 8-12,

In 2018, Lakota partnered with Hope Squad, a national organization that provides curriculum and training for its peer-to-peer suicide prevention program for high school students. The following year, we introduced Sources of Strength as a pilot program at Plains Junior School. Through Sources of Strength, now at all four junior schools, student leaders promote a positive school culture, healthy decision-making and suicide prevention messages while raising mental health awareness.

I am writing to share some exciting news going into next school year. In place of Hope Squad at our high schools, beginning in August we will introduce Hope and Strength, a new mental health awareness program. Hope and Strength will follow the same evidence-based Sources of Strength curriculum used at our junior schools, making it a more natural progression for our high school students. 

The reason for the change is two-fold: 

  1. Hope Squad is no longer supported by the State as an approved suicide prevention program, which is required of all public schools. This also means the State will not provide financial support for the program. 
  2. Sources of Strength is a more encompassing program, not only focusing on suicide prevention, but also bullying prevention. The Sources of Strength curriculum also includes resiliency, substance abuse prevention and a focus on creating a sense of belonging among students. It is also compliant with House Bill 123, which Ohio schools must follow.

Our Hope Squad advisors will be trained on the Sources of Strength curriculum, followed by our current Hope Squad member, if they choose to continue. Hope Squad students and their families will receive a separate communication and will be contacted by their advisors with more information. 

Moving forward, new Hope and Strength members will be nominated by staff, as opposed to being nominated by peers in Hope Squad. Furthermore, the semester-long class that accompanies the program will be open to all students, not just Hope and Strength members.

While we understand that this will be a change at our high schools, we are excited to introduce Hope and Strength to our students and staff next year. If you have any questions about the new program, I encourage you to reach out to Megan Cameron, Lakota’s student wellness coordinator, at, or me.


Wyetta Hayden
Interim Executive Director, Pupil Personnel Services


  • mental health