Project COURAGE (Creating Opportunities for Understanding and Resilience Amid Gaining Our Education) is a grant funded program through the Department of Justice. The program seeks to build resilience among students within Warren County Public Schools who have experienced primary or secondary trauma. Research shows that children with adverse childhood experiences suffer negative outcomes more frequently than those who have not experienced adversity. COURAGE serves student 5th – 8th grade and their siblings, students who attend nontraditional schools, students referred from Warren County Public Schools guidance and truancy departments, the 26th District Juvenile and Domestic Court, Warren County Department of Social Services and the Front Royal Police Department.
The Project COURAGE team is made up of the Behavioral Health Coach (BHC), the Anxiety/Depression Specialist (ADS), Stress Management Coach and the Mentor Coordinator/Parent Educator (MCPE). The BHC, ADS and MCPE carry caseloads and meet with students on a weekly basis to work on self-directed goals, reframe experiences and provide support so the student feels safe and connected. Parents/guardians are contacted at least once a month to provide an update on services and assist family with resources or other needs they may have. All students are able to work with the Stress Management Coach in order to improved stress reduction skills through using mindfulness and stretching techniques. The goal is to support students with skills that promote attention control, emotional regulation, impulse control and provide techniques to help them respond to situations versus reacting. In addition, the MCPE recruits, certifies and pairs mentors with students. A monthly parenting education class is offered as well.