Aevidum: A Message of Hope
Updated: Jan 31, 2022
At a recent Easton Area High School assembly, you could hear a pin drop as students listened to a presentation about a club that seeks to raise awareness among teens about depression and suicide.
Aevidum, is a student-led club that helps students avoid desperate feelings that can lead to suicide. Aevidum is built on four pillars: respect, appreciate, acknowledge, and accept everyone. The Latin word aevidum, which means "I've got your back," empowers students to use their unique voices and talents to make a difference and recognize the gifts of their peers.
Communities In Schools of Eastern PA's Program Manager, Gina Ambrusico, participated in Aevidum workshops and collaborated with the Easton Area Middle School principal to bring the program to the high school in 2015. The club migrated to the school as students advanced grade levels.
"At some point in their lives, students and even staff feel alone. This type of program can let people know that there's hope. Every story has an impact on someone else, and once kids start to share their stories, so many others come forward," reflected Ambrusico, Program Manager for Communities In Schools of Eastern PA.
"We give students the tools to know how and where to go for help, so they know they are never alone."
Ambrusico, additional Communities In Schools of Eastern PA staff at Easton Area High School, and Bradley Bachman, a teacher at Easton Area High School, serve as facilitators and confidants for the students. During Covid-19, the club met virtually every week, and in-person meetings returned in the 2021-2022 school year. If students show signs of needing more assistance, Ambrusico and Bachman can connect the student with a professional counselor in the school. School staff is also welcome to attend meetings for support.
As of September 2021, Communities In Schools of Eastern PA is also working with the Aevidum club at Whitehall-Coplay Middle School to raise awareness. Established in 2017, the club is one of the largest in the school. Communities In Schools of Eastern PA teamed up with the club to host an Aevidum Game Night to promote the club's mission and share resources.
"Many times you hear about programs such as Aevidum because a school tragedy brought student mental health to the forefront of conversations. It's inspiring to see these schools be proactive rather than reactive in the care of their students," said Maria Esposito, Vice President of Advancement for Communities In Schools of Eastern PA.
"Our organization and team is dedicated to prioritizing student mental health and supporting Aevidum's mission."