Funds to Assist Indiana School District in the Expansion of Mental, Physical and Emotional Wellness Program for Students and Educators
(INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – October 11, 2021) – CareSource, a nationally recognized nonprofit health plan, today announced a foundation grant award to the Growth in Academics through Innovation and Neuroeducation (GAIN) program that is currently being implemented within Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC), a K-12 public school district located in Southwest Indiana. The GAIN program, which prioritizes corporation wide education on social and emotional learning (SEL), self-regulation, mental wellness and mind-body medicine (MBM) practices, aims to equip students with the cognitive and emotional capacities to be successful and healthy beyond their K-12 experience.
The CareSource Foundation will provide the EVSC with a total of $296,900 over the course of a two-year period, which began in September 2021. These funds will be allocated towards multiple efforts throughout the GAIN program such as:
- The purchase of supplies and resources for self-regulation classrooms and self-regulation stations
- Stipends to support teachers for their participation in GAIN SEL curriculum workgroups, which were specifically created to make the necessary assessments and expansion to the SEL curriculum
- Additional funding for a senior SEL staff member who will take on the training and development responsibilities for 17 new staff members within the EVSC
- Access to additional SEL curriculums to provide further skill development support to students that are facing more targeted and intensive challenges
- The implementation of MBM to address and heal population-wide physiological trauma and stress for members of the EVSC
"The CareSource grant will allow the EVSC to expand much needed resources and services in our school community as we strive to develop the physical and mental wellness of students, families and staff and provide more targeted support to persons impacted by trauma," said Susan Phelps, EVSC’s director of neuroeducation.
Today’s K-12 students are facing a multitude of challenges such as family matters, societal pressures, poverty and bullying, as well as additional stressors brought on by the pandemic. Additionally, the local community also faces numerous worries relating to violence. A 2019 study conducted by The National Council for Home Safety and Security ranked the city of Evansville within the top 100 large cities that experienced the highest increase in violent crimes based on available statistics from 2016 and 2017. An overarching mission of the GAIN program is to support the mental wellness of students and staff affected by these factors and promote resilience throughout the EVSC and the community.
“The GAIN program is a much needed educational initiative as it assists students in the development of behavioral, social, emotional and cognitive self-regulation skills that will be essential as they navigate every new experience or obstacle throughout the rest of their lives,” said Steve Smitherman, president of CareSource Indiana. “CareSource strongly believes in the importance of programs that address social determinants of health, and the formative K-12 years are the ideal time to instill these essential skills. We hope to see other school corporations across the state of Indiana follow in the EVSC’s footsteps and adopt similar approaches to educating and raising our future generations.”
To learn more about the EVSC and their GAIN program, visit: www.district.evscschools.com/academics
The EVSC is the third largest school district in the state of Indiana with an enrollment of more than 22,000 students and 3,400 employees. The district is a county-wide system that is comprised of urban, suburban and rural areas. This includes 40 schools, including specialized schools and programs and a rapidly expanding early learning program. The district's approach to educating all students is GAIN (Growth in Academics through Innovation and Neuroeducation). GAIN is the umbrella that includes multiple initiatives to ensure all students reach their maximum potential and are prepared to be successful throughout every stage of life.