a group of approximately 25 students and their two advisors holding a Sources of Strength banner in the media center

Twenty-five Cairo-Durham students were trained to be peer leaders for Sources of Strength (SOS), a student organization that focuses on mental health awareness and support.

The group of peer leaders consists of students in Grades 8-12. They will work to find ways to be mentors among their peers and help them find their own sources of strength such as family support, positive friends, healthy activities, spirituality and more. The goal of SOS is to prevent suicide, bullying and substance abuse through the power of these peer social networks.

Cairo-Durham’s SOS peer leaders will give presentations at assemblies and their first schoolwide campaign, “I Am Stronger,” will feature a competition between grade levels.

SOS was introduced at Cairo-Durham High School in 2016 after Participation in Government students went on a field trip to the 2015 Mental Health Matters Legislative Day in Albany.

“The students spoke with advocates about their concerns related to mental health issues and the need for more supportive services in schools,” said SOS advisor, Mrs. Drossel. “The students did an excellent job representing our school and their concerns, and later we learned that Cairo-Durham was selected as one of the schools to be funded for the program. We’ve been working hard at it ever since.”

The first SOS peer leader training at CDHS occurred in the fall of 2016. It is in its fifth year at Cairo-Durham and began including eighth grade students in the peer leader training last year.