Sources of Strength Program Teaches Community Leaders to Empower North Dakota Kids

Bismarck - Community leaders are working together to learn new ways to help kids.

"We have a lot of youth who struggle and they need to find positive resources," Alice Birdhorse, community health worker in Standing Rock says.

The program's main focus is preparing adult leaders to train students to spread positive messages to other kids.

" On a friend to friend or peer to peer level there's a lot more power in that," Mark Lomurray, Sources of Strength says.

It's a program called Sources of Strength, and it empowers kids to reach out to those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts or bullying.

The hope is to connect them with the people who can help.

"When you have a whole community of people that are passionate and engaged and educated on how to help and strengthen their peers and people around them," Emorse Petty, Sources of Strength trainer says.

The program gives access to help such as mental health resources, healthy activities, and family support.

"There are people around you that you know and that you care about and that you know care about you and are loving on you and helping you to grow and be stronger," Petty says.

For leaders all across the state, the program is their first step towards giving kids what they really need.

"I'm excited to bring this back to our community in standing rock and I'm excited to help the youth," Birdhorse says.

Birdhorse says she hopes Sources of Strength will empower kids who want to reach out to peers who may be hurting.

The Sources of Strength program is already in 30 schools across the state and hopes to double the amount of trained peer leaders in the community from 1,000 to 2,000. 

The North Dakota Department of Health will be hosting a launch event for anyone wanting to implement Sources of Strength in their own school on September 6th.

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