TILTON — As part of their annual Winter Carnival, Tilton Students participated in a community-wide "De-Stress Night" inspired by their on-campus Health & Wellness Team. In the final competition of the evening, teams were tasks with adding items to a donation pile for a local women and children's program, New Beginnings, based out of Laconia. On February 5, Tilton students packed a mini bus with the items and set out to deliver them to New Beginnings.
Angela Juurlink, LCMHC school counselor and co-coordinator of the Health and Wellness Program said, "We picked New Beginnings because it's a local organization that highlights the fact that these difficult situations do not simply happen 'somewhere else,' they happen anywhere."
Tilton School has a longstanding relationship with New Beginnings and has been partnering with them to provide interactive workshops that the students can then take with them onto college. Kitty Kiefer is the Education and Outreach Coordinator at New Beginnings and plays a large part in the relationship that Tilton has maintained with the organization. She visited with the students in January at a School Meeting to introduce the donation opportunity.
"Although we provide prevention education programs to all schools in Belknap County, we have been fortunate to work with Tilton School for many years, providing workshops to first-year students," Kiefer said. "Some topics we explore include unhealthy relationships, types of abuse and warning signs, consent and respect for boundaries, gender stereotypes and how to help a friend."
New Beginnings is a program that offers much to the community by ways of advocacy, education and a 24-house phone line. "New Beginnings has offered so much educational support to our school, yet the program is also one in need of financial support," Juurlink continued. "Adding a donation challenge was a way our own Health and Wellness Program could help others while having a healthy, fun night ourselves- a win-win situation for all involved."
Tyler Hatch, a member of the class of 2015 added, "The Health & Wellness team placed posters in the RAM tram, a shuttle bus provided to local stores for students on the weekends, and sent emails out encouraging our classmates to think of others and pick up a few extra items while on their weekly shopping trips."
The efforts by the Health and Wellness team proved successful, as Kiefer was on hand to help receive the several hundred items the students had donated. Kiefer was thrilled by the substantial contributions of the Tilton student body.
"We are so grateful to Tilton School students for their generous donations," she said. "These items will make such a difference to those we serve. Sometimes people come to shelter with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Something as simple as providing personal care items reminds them that they aren't alone and their community cares."
In addition to the recent donation challenge and student workshops, New Beginnings participates in Tilton School's annual Health and Wellness Fair by way of hosting a resource table and facilitating a workshop. This year's fair will take place on Thursday, April 9. For more information visit www.tiltonschool.org.
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