Caring for Our Students

A Look into Mental Health

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Our hope for every one of our students and their families is that they would know Jesus and grow in their relationship with Him. All of our methods are built around supporting this mission of discipleship. At Amazima, we strive to provide a safe, encouraging and nurturing environment for our students to be able to grow and flourish.

In light of May being mental health awareness month, we sat down with Kristin List, Amazima’s Emotional Wellness Trainer, and discussed the methods in place to care for our students’ emotional and mental health.

“Our goal at Amazima is to create an environment where students thrive emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and academically,” Kristin points out when discussing the environment we desire to create. Here are some of the ways we care for mental health at our school and in the communities we serve.

Staffing

Counselors: We have three full-time counselors on staff who are available to our students and provide one-on-one counseling sessions, as requested.

Emotional Wellness Trainer: Kristin List is responsible for training our staff in methods that will help them build trusting relationships with students and their families. She trains our staff in Positive Discipline Training, Trust-Based Relational Intervention, emotional and social wellbeing, and financial management from a biblical perspective. Kristin also meets one-on-one with staff members and coaches them through various situations.

Mentors: Because we are all about discipleship, we want to make sure our staff-to-student ratios are small enough that students feel like they always have access to a loving and trusting adult. We have mentors who live in the homes and on campus with our secondary students at a ratio of 1:6. Our teacher-to-student ratio is 1:8 across both campuses.

Friendship + Fun

Sports: There are various organized sports teams on which students can participate. Our students play volleyball, football (soccer), rugby, basketball, netball, woodball, handball, and even pickleball!

Life Skills Groups: Students are in groups with their peers and 3-4 mentors where they choose a life skill to learn and grow in. These groups include: Music, Production, Photography & Media, Farming, Performing Arts, Hair and Makeup, Arts and Crafts, Chess, Food & Hospitality, Service and Stewardship, Sewing and Tailoring.

Various other opportunities: Students live in homes with other students and are in daily devotional small groups with their housemates. The school also hosts talent shows, dance competitions, weekly chapel with small groups, and many other options, which promote students growing in friendships and fun.

“This is what we are all about,” says Kristin, “safe relationships and fostering a sense of significance and belonging. We want students to know that they matter, that their voices are heard that they are wanted and loved. We work hard, by God’s grace, to create a warm and safe environment.”

Serving Others

Service projects: Around 20 times per year, students are given the opportunity to complete service projects in the community. Some past projects include: building latrines, cleaning up in and around a widow’s home, digging trenches for water to flow correctly near roads, and many more.

Mission trips: Our S6 students are going on their first mission trip this month, where they’ll meet
physical needs and share Jesus in nearby communities.

Ekisa Buddy Program: Since 2017, we have partnered with Ekisa Ministries, which supports children with disabilities so they can thrive in families and communities. Amazima students visit their Ekisa buddies every two weeks. Over the years, really beautiful relationships have been formed.

Training

Trust-Based Relational Intervention Training: Our emotional wellness trainer, Kristin, was hired to train our staff in creating safe and nurturing relationship environments in which our students will thrive. Our staff have Kristin as a coach and also have opportunities to attend various conferences and trainings.

Family Partnerships: Our Community Engagement team works with our students’ families to support them and help train them in these same methods so they can seek to cultivate an emotionally stable environment at home.

Staff Life Team: This team pours into our staff as they pour into our students. We want to make sure the staff are well cared for so that they may be in a healthy place to care for students.

Home

Clean, safe homes: Our secondary students live on campus in homes with family mentors. This group becomes the students’ family away from family. They are in relationship with trusted, nurturing adults who provide clear guidelines on how to live well.

As we acknowledge the topic of mental health in our school, we hope that you find yourself in a safe and nurturing environment as well. Becoming compassionate and responsible adults begins with an opportunity to learn in a safe environment. We are continually seeking to invest deeply in our students so that eventually, we may launch them into the world to live and thrive and change their communities.

“We do this work because God calls us to be faithful, to love others well, and to serve those in need. We love these kids because God first loved us. So, even when there are significant challenges, we don’t give up on them. We keep showing love and building trust because they’re worth it! It’s our hope that as they see steadfast commitment and care from their mentors, social workers, counselors and teachers, they’ll come to trust in God’s deep love for each of them.”

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