As part of the United Way of Northwest Georgia's annual "Make a Difference Day," several social work students from Dalton State College decided to take action and make a difference in the lives of Morris Innovative High School students.
As an intern with Family Frameworks, DSC senior social work major Marcela Navarro has been immersed in learning about depression and suicide prevention in local high schools. That is how she got the idea to put vinyl lettering of inspirational quotes, as well as the suicide hotline number, on the stall walls in all eight of the MIHS restrooms.
"When students are having a hard day or feeling like they're all alone, they tend to go into the restroom to escape, even if just for a moment," explained Navarro. "That is why we wanted to make sure that the safe place, or refuge of sorts, is filled with encouragement, positivity and information. We want students to know someone is there for them, they are loved, and there is hope for a better day."
For the past five years, the United Way of Northwest Georgia Volunteer Center Cabinet has partnered with the Dalton State College School of Social Work to provide funding for a project. Each of the five groups from the senior class developed a project plan with a budget of $250 to present to cabinet members. For this year's project, the cabinet funded another worthy project in the community.
However, an anonymous donor was so impressed with the proposal from Navarro's group that he or she funded the $250 out-of-pocket to make sure the project would be completed. Wright Global Graphics, Shaw Industries and Baja Coop also donated to help bring the project to fruition.
Many social work majors from DSC and even MIHS students spent the day cleaning, planning and painting to finish the project. Some of the quotes include "Mirror, Mirror On the Wall, There's a Leader in Us All!" and "Be Somebody who makes Everybody Feel like a Somebody." See more of the completed project in the slideshow below.
"Our goal is for students to take these messages and spread them to others both within our school and community," said MIHS Counselor Sheila McKeehan. "We cannot thank Marcela and her crew enough, as well as Dalton State and the additional sponsors, for choosing Morris as their place to plant the seeds of positivity."