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Fall has arrived and over 22,000 students have returned to the halls and classrooms of schools throughout Beaufort County School District. This year like every year students are eager to learn and grow while they familiarize themselves with new teachers, new classmates and new curriculum to push them academically. In the midst of academic growth, some students face daily challenges that may impact learning. In order to ensure the academic success of students, interventions are put into place to address the social and emotional needs of those students. Beaufort County School District’s Office of Auxiliary Services works to help address the non-academic needs of students through school-based support provided by the School Social Workers, School Nurses and Behavior Management Specialists. Each year, we work to increase the number of staff throughout the district who are becoming trauma informed and equipped to address the needs of students that aren’t always visible or easy for students to share.

Through partnerships with community agencies, Beaufort County School District is able to offer access to programs and services not ordinarily available in schools. One of those community agencies is Hopeful Horizons. The long-standing working relationship between Hopeful Horizons and Beaufort County School District has proved to be beneficial to students, parents and staff in the county. Staff are provided with professional development opportunities ranging from mandated reporting of abuse and neglect to identifying trauma in students. Students and families benefit from the variety of programs that provide opportunities for family units to learn together and for young men and women to learn strategies to prevent violence and end the cycle of abuse. One of those programs is the Strengthening Families Program, which provides opportunities for families to learn skills that foster family connections and build stronger family units, while breaking the cycle of abuse. Families are brought together for 14 weeks on school campuses throughout the county in the evenings to learn resiliency-based skills and alternative methods to address behaviors. During the sessions, families are able to sit down together and enjoy a meal before breaking off into sessions to learn new skills. We recognize the value of programs that help to foster family connectedness, and appreciate that they also increase the academic achievement of students.

Hopeful Horizons programs that are geared towards students include the Men of Strength (MOST) club which helps young men redefine what masculinity is and learn how to build healthy relationships. The Women Inspiring Strength and Empowerment (WISE) club, offers young women opportunities to learn skills to increase self-awareness and confidence. Through the many programs that Hopeful Horizons has made available to students and parents, we are helping to foster generational changes to address issues that impact so many families and students in our community.

When students come back to school each year, we aim to be prepared to meet their needs, whatever those needs may be. Through collaboration with community agencies like Hopeful Horizons, we are more equipped to serve our students every day. The students and families of Beaufort County will continue to be the beneficiaries of our collaboration with Hopeful Horizons, and we look forward to continuing that work for years to come!

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