Sandy is an 8th grader at Midview Middle School who struggled with her self-image and self-confidence. Despite having an outgoing personality, Sandy kept her feelings bottled up and she was becoming depressed.
Sandy was able to hide her true feelings from a majority of the students and teachers at the school. But her closest group of friends knew something was wrong. They told Sandy how beautiful, smart and talented she was, but she refused to believe them.
Around that time, the Common VIEW collaborative started working in her district. Staff at her school chose Sandy to take part in some of Common VIEW’s programming because of her maturity and charisma. They knew she would be well-liked by the other students in the groups, and they thought she could become a leader of her peers. They also hoped the experiences would help her feel more confident so she could see her own true beauty, both inside and out.
One program, the You Belong Group, introduced Sandy and the other students to improv acting. The lessons taught the students that no matter the types of clothes they wore, or how much money they had, or where they came from, all of the students were the same and they had to work together to make a scene work. In the end, an activity that started with anxiety turned out to be a lot of fun, to the point that Sandy now considers herself a part-time actress.
Another program, Common Ground’s Earth Camp, where students enjoy time outdoors while learning about themselves, others, and the environment, taught Sandy that no matter where she is in life, there is somebody there who loves her.
Both programs are perfect examples of the collaborative’s strength in bringing in additional resources as needed. The You Belong Group, for example, is funded through the Lorain County Board of Mental Health and fits perfectly into the messaging of Common VIEW. The collaborative was then able to provide funding to take advantage of Common Ground’s great programming by sending Sandy with a group of students down to their location in Oberlin. This strategy provides a wrap-around approach both inside and outside of the schools while ensuring that all messaging is aligned.
After being exposed to this new environment as part of the Common VIEW collaborative, Sandy is thriving. She’s as outgoing and talented as ever but now she has confidence and knows that she is beautiful and loved.
Sandy continues to act, she has become a leader – just as her teachers had predicted – and she even had the confidence to share her story in front of 200 people at a recent event.