Pictures of CSD leaders in "Camas Cares" shirts and a photo of a "Don't Give Up" sign along the road

Posted: November 7, 2017

JOY and HOPE are intimately connected and are powerful gifts we can give our students, perhaps the most powerful! One of the very best parts of being involved in public education is the JOY and HOPE students give us each and every day! The past few years we’ve featured stories that highlight the HOPE and JOY in our district. Let me know if you have any story suggestions. Thanks for helping us share the HOPE & JOY each week!

You may have seen the signs around town with messages like “You are not alone.” These signs are part of a larger suicide prevention campaign started by the Stephens family in memory of their son, Jon, who took his own life in August of 2016. Our district has partnered with the Stephens family and others in our community to think more broadly about how we can see and serve each of our students. We want to do everything we can to let our students know how much we care about them. For the Stephens family, helping others is a way to work through their own grieving process.

“We don’t want this to happen to another parent, another family. The key is to unite the community, to have a voice of hope that is louder than that message of hopelessness,” commented Jon’s father Joe Stephens.

“The purpose of Our City Cares Campaign is to unite businesses, churches, non-profits, city governments and schools to combat the tragedy of suicide. The sheer magnitude of this problem is too big for any one entity to combat, but by uniting together we can and must make a difference. We are both humbled by, and grateful for, the warm reception from our Camas community,” he added.

We are in the hope creation business. Every day we have unique opportunities to help students dream about tomorrow and recognize how important they are to us today. Hope can start in our normal daily business – on our buses, in the classrooms, at lunch, in clubs and activities, or by making eye contact and giving a warm smile. It can also be built through an intentional focus, going out of our way to say we care about you. This morning many of our secretaries are wearing a red “Camas Cares” t-shirt. A team of staff will also be welcoming students at Liberty Middle School, serving hot chocolate at Hayes Freedom, and passing out pencils at Baller – our hope is to reach all the students in a rotation of schools throughout the school year. We want to do more of these kinds of activities moving forward. Let me know any ideas you have.

Thank you for being the HOPE builders you are for our students and families!

Have a great Monday.