FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LCSO’s Youth Service Section First in Northern Virginia to Host Sources of Strength Training
Loudoun County, VA (November 5, 2019) – This week School Resource (SRO) and Juvenile Resource Officers (JRO) with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) were the first in the Northern Virginia region to receive training in Sources of Strength, an evidence led youth suicide prevention program, conducted by the Ryan Bartel Foundation.
The program begins at the student level, with middle and high schoolers serving as peer leaders in social networks, to help change unhealthy norms and culture, ultimately preventing suicide, bullying, and substance abuse. The program focuses on eight strengths - family support, positive friends, spirituality, healthy activities, medical access, mentors, mental health and generosity.
The program utilizes an “upstream” approach for youth suicide prevention and develops multiple sources of support and connects students with adult advisors, which may now include LCSO SROs and JROs with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office who serve in Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS).
As part of Sources of Strength, the SROs and JROs will join LCPS unified mental health team staff, school administrators, teachers, and parents as trusted adults for peer leaders. “Our deputies have a crucial role in our schools and build strong bonds with the school communities they serve,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman. “This program will only further enhance our goal of being a mentor, teacher and guardian of all students,” Sheriff Chapman added.
The Sources of Strength program was first introduced and piloted in two LCPS High Schools during the 2016-2017 school-year by the Ryan Bartel Foundation. It then supported the larger implementation by LCPS in 2017 through its partially funded grant from 100Women Strong and other donors. LCPS Department of Pupil Services now has 20 certified trainers (school social workers, school psychologists, and student assistance specialists) who assist with the ongoing training and program implementation. The program implementation will continue at the middle and high school level.
The Ryan Bartel Foundation, a Youth Suicide Prevention non-profit organization, was founded by the Bartel family in 2015, a year after the tragic death by suicide of their son Ryan, a then 17-year-old senior at Woodgrove High School in Purcellville, Va. According to the Foundation, suicide is the second leading cause of death in ages 15-19 and between 2007-2017 tripled in ages 10-14.
The LCSO SROs and JROs received the training on November 4 through the Ryan Bartel Foundation as part of the agency’s continued efforts to foster positive relationships with our youth and to protect all students. In addition to the Sources of Strength program, all LCSO SROs and JROs are trained in Crisis Intervention (CIT)
The LCSO Youth Service Section has received national recognition over the past several years. In 2018, the Sheriff’s Office was honored to be named one of the best School Resource Officers Units in the United States after receiving the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) Model Agency of the Year Award. In 2017, Sheriff Chapman was honored to accept the DEA/D.A.R.E America Law Enforcement Executive of the Year award on behalf of the LCSO’s Juvenile Resource Officers who teach D.A.R.E. The award recognized the LCSO’s extraordinary commitment to drug prevention and enforcement.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s has had a presence in Loudoun County schools for over three decades when the D.A.R.E program was implemented in fifth grade classrooms in 1987.