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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Common Roots improves its ability to help students

Common Roots, a student-led organization that has offered peer to peer counseling in the past two years, will be merging with an outside organization, Sources of Strength, this year to further strengthen peer support on campus.

According to its website, Sources of Strength is an adult-led program that trains students and adult leaders of the community to “prevent suicide, violence, substance abuse and to maximize health and protection in the real world.” The Sources of Strength program has previously helped other high schools build support groups for students such as the ROCK program, a peer counseling group at Gunn High School.

“Hopefully, they’re going to be able to grow our [organization] and help us help students to become educated about what to do when a [difficult] situation comes up,” Common Roots co-president Luke Salin said.

Sources of Strength will train faculty members to be able to help students better. After having a meeting in the nearby future with Sources of Strength to discuss the details of the merging, Common Roots will bring in professional trainers for the students and faculty.

“They’ll be incorporating more teachers and there’ll be more whole school involvement, and hopefully that will let us be able to actually get out there,” Salin said. Teachers are being asked to nominate students for different social groups who they think are capable of being trained by Sources of Strength. These students will become the core of a revamped group.

By getting more staff and students involved, Common Roots hopes to encourage help seeking behavior, and building up prevention.

“Our school’s culture is more like, ‘If I have something going on maybe I’ll just go talk to a friend,’ [not a counselor],” Salin said. “So that is what Sources of Strength is there for, to train people around school so that if their friend is [having a] hard day, they’ll be there and know what to do and say.”

Salin feels that based on previous years, though successful, Common Roots has much room for improvement. Consisting of mainly relaxed seniors, the organization often felt that they were not reaching maximum potential.

Nevertheless, Common Roots has helped prevent a few suicidal situations in the past, and they hope to continue making a positive impact.

Common Roots co-president senior Anshul Aggarwal hopes the merging of Common Roots and Sources of Strength will benefit the school, the community and beyond.

“We’ve seen [Sources of Strength] come in and revitalize entire programs and we hope that they do [the same] for us,” Aggarwal said.

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