Three Rivers Schools Health Curriculum looks to expand

THREE RIVERS – The Three Rivers Community Schools Health Curriculum Committee hosted a parent health curriculum night to spread awareness of their goals to the district’s parents on Wednesday. Data is collected every other year from the MiPHY survey, (Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth), from middle school and high school students in the district. Questions on various health matters, including drug and alcohol use, sexual activity, vaping of e-cigarettes, and thoughts of suicide, assist in narrowing the focus of the district’s Health Curriculum Committee.
Curriculum Director Nikki Nash said the Health Curriculum Committee, which involves herself and other teachers of health education, focused on promoting abstinence and HIV awareness during its parent health curriculum night on Wednesday. Members from the Three Rivers Health PAWS Program and St. Joseph County Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services (DASAS) were in attendance, educating parents on their services.
“My passion is to show the community that there is something out there for our adolescence kids,” Nash said.
DASAS Director of Housing Services Ellen Higgins and Child Advocate Toriann Lawrence were in attendance encouraging healthy relationships, with significant others and through friendships. Lawrence said to “know the eight before its too late,” which are the eight signs of an unhealthy, or hostile, relationship.
The eight signs include intensity, jealousy, control, isolation, criticism, sabotage, blame and anger, she said.
“The red-flag campaign lists the eight signs. It is really big on speaking up and saying something if you see any of the eight signs, and not to be afraid to talk about it,” Lawrence said.
Employees, including Program Coordinator Kiel Lucas, with the PAWS Clinic was also in attendance to educate parents on its “full service clinic” that services to 10 to 21 year olds across West Michigan.
The PAWS clinic provides medical and mental health screenings and treatment for young people near school grounds. In addition to educating the youth on developing healthy habits and prevention toward injury, violence and other risks, the PAWS health center also offers various health assessments, referrals for specialty care, treatment for acute illness/injury, as well as confidential services, including testing and treatment for HIV and STI.
The PAWS clinic opened in 2010 and is located across from Three Rivers High School. Lucas said in 2018, the clinic served over 800 unduplicated patients and nearly 2,600 office visits.
Nash said the goal of Wednesday was to recruit parents into the Health Curriculum Committee.
“I think the more that parents are involved, the more they can support their kids at home,” Nash said.
Samantha May can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or

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