Project AWARE
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Project AWARE professionals including, from left, Rita Quinn, Suzanne Houston, Christi Heaton and Joni Greenberg, are proud that the program, which is providing additional mental-health services to Berkeley County (W.Va.) Schools students, is housed in the historic Ramer Center, home of the Sumner Ramer African-American School Museum.

By Jenni Vincent

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The status quo is not good enough for visionaries who see opportunities in challenges and make it their mission to change the future.

In the case of Project AWARE, educators and mental-health professionals are collaborating to increase the awareness of emotional issues among school-aged youths and better serve student needs.

Berkeley County (W.Va.) Schools was chosen as one of three West Virginia counties to receive a federal five-year, $2.5 million grant to implement the program in 2014, program Manager Joni Greenberg said.

Students at Hedgesville (W.Va.) High School, and North Middle and Burke Street Elementary schools, both in Martinsburg, now receive free access to additional mental-health services thanks to eight therapists working in the schools.

Another primary component of the program is providing mental-health first-aid training to everyone from first-responders to local residents.

The grant was a dream come true for Greenberg and Christi Heaton, the school district’s academic-support coordinator, because both women were school counselors.

“I remember how Joni talked all those years ago about the importance of doing as much as possible when it comes to school mental health. And now, we have been able to…

Mayra Rodriguez
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Mayra Rodriguez

Content Editor at oneQube
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Mayra Rodriguez
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