$500,000 grant helping fund free family clinics at 4 schools in Dist. 204

  • Granger Middle School in Aurora will be one of four schools with free family clinics as part of a new mental health initiative in Indian Prairie Unit District 204.

    Granger Middle School in Aurora will be one of four schools with free family clinics as part of a new mental health initiative in Indian Prairie Unit District 204. Courtesy of Indian Prairie Unit District 204

 
 
Updated 11/17/2022 6:26 AM

An Indian Prairie Unit District 204 priority is becoming a reality.

Bolstered by a $500,000 grant from Edward-Elmhurst Health, District 204 officials are embarking upon Indian Prairie Cares, a mental health initiative designed to assist district schools with the greatest wellness needs.

 

Details of the plan were discussed at last week's school board meeting. Four district schools with the highest number of low-income students -- Fischer and Granger middle schools and Georgetown and Longwood elementary schools -- will have free family clinics.

"As a district, we've always been concerned about the social-emotional growth of our students," Superintendent Adrian Talley said.

"We believe that these clinics will support our children and their families as they work to deal with concerns that are impacting their lives."

Between the four schools, 72 total therapy sessions will be available from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Three licensed clinicians will participate at each school, and telehealth sessions will be an option.

In addition to psychologists, there will be social workers, family therapists and four Spanish-speaking clinicians.

The 45-minute sessions are scheduled to start on Nov. 29 and continue through June 3. An effort will begin in February to sustain the program beyond the scope of the grant through work with community organizations.

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Tara Bell, an instructional specialist, said the district recently applied for a five-year, $5.5 million federal grant. Officials will learn in December if the district will receive the money.

Officials also will work with the Illinois Department of Public Health and partners on a separate grant to expand services to Neuqua Valley High School.

District 204, the state's fourth-largest school district, serves 26,000 students in Aurora, Bolingbrook, Naperville and Plainfield.

"Outstanding work and effort to get this," said school board President Laurie Donahue. "I wish we could do it everywhere, but this is a great start."

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