Exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, our country is experiencing a mental health crisis. Children have been particularly vulnerable, with the CDC reporting a 24% increase in mental health-related emergency department (ED) visits among U.S. children aged 5–11 years in 2020.
In a 2021 KLRN educator survey, nearly 60% asked for classroom support for social emotional wellness. Stronger Together was created to help parents and educators of children 0-8 navigate difficulties at home and in school. With bilingual resources developed by Sesame Street in Communities (SSIC), the program covers social emotional development, nutrition and trauma-informed care.
KLRN held a series of social emotional-focused trainings for teachers and parents, providing mental health resource kits for the home and classroom. These activities led up to a community summit in San Antonio at Rosedale Park on June 18. The event offered resources for families who have experienced trauma, featuring community partners who offer mental health services and a Sesame Street character to interact with children. 180 families were served at this event.
The community summit was so well-received that a library in Uvalde asked KLRN to duplicate our efforts for families and community members impacted by the mass shooting at Robb Elementary. Our Education team held two days’ worth of activities in Uvalde – impacting 376 people. Peg + Cat and Clifford the Big Red dog greeted attendees and KLRN staff offered support to children and adults who stopped by.