Emmaus High School Hosts Aevidum Event
CIS of Eastern PA site professionals worked with the nonprofit organization Aevidum to organize a collaborative workshop focused on suicide awareness. The interactive workshop, which took place at Emmaus High School, was organized by CIS site coordinator Amy Williams and featured a mix of large-group presentations, small-group activities, discussions, planning and sharing.
The event featured student-led activities that focused on how mental health impacts us all, with the goal of training and energizing new Aevidum clubs and training club members from other districts. Students also learned the core values of Aevidum: to create a school culture where everyone feels accepted, acknowledged, appreciated and loved. There was also a session for adult advisors to learn more about the program and their role as club advisors.
Williams, who also serves as the Aevidum club advisor at Emmaus High School, collaborates with school district administration to ensure students are getting the resources they need to be successful inside and outside of the classroom.
“Hosting this event and sharing the impact of Aevidum allowed us to highlight the importance of empathy and mental health advocacy within our school and hopefully serves as an inspiration to surrounding districts," said Williams. “In the sharing of ideas and experiences, we not only strengthen our own school community but inspire neighboring school districts to embrace a culture of compassion, fostering a collective commitment to the well-being of every student.”
Started in 2003, Aevidum is an organization that empowers youth to shatter the silence surrounding depression, suicide, and other issues facing teens. The word Aevidum, which means “I’ve got your back,” was created by students after a classmate died by suicide. The organization inspires schools and communities to adopt cultures of care and advocacy, encouraging all members to have their friends’ backs and exists in elementary, middle, and high schools and colleges nationwide. The message of support that is shared allows students to understand the power of connection and that others truly “have their back.”
A relatively new club at Emmaus High School, Williams learned about Aevidum through other site professionals at CIS of Eastern PA and thought it would be beneficial to have at her school. When she told her idea to the administration, she learned that a student who had lost their brother to suicide was already in the process of starting the club. At that moment, she promptly agreed to become the club advisor.
Aevidum’s team was an integral part of the event’s success. Without its support and the support of the school counselors, this event would not have been possible. Thanks also to the Josh Johnson Foundation and Project Aware for supporting this event.
By the end of the day, the event engaged nearly 100 students and staff from the following schools: Blue Mountain High School, Carbon Career and Technical Institute, Catasauqua High School, Dieruff High School, Nazareth Area High School, Norristown Area High School, Northwest Area High School, Northampton Area High School, Notre Dame Green Pond, Parkland High School, Pennridge High School, Pocono Mountain West High School, Pottsgrove High School, Spring-Ford Senior High School, William Allen High School, and Wyoming Valley West High School.