PUEBLO — School District 60 in Pueblo, held its 8th annual Peace Summit at the Pueblo Convention Center.
On Saturday, many schools in Pueblo as well as 15 community organizations set up tables, with small activities to promote kindness.
At one of the tables, students wrote down ways they could fill other people's buckets. This makes kids think about how they could help or be supportive towards others. They put the message and some candy in a small bucket and then they can choose a different bucket to take home.
Shelly Alcon Montoya is the Director of Student Success and Equity for D60. She also is a coordinator of the peace summit. Montoya said the purpose of the summit is to teach and show kids how to be kind to one another, and how to pay it forward.
Sending a message of kindness or love can be as simple as texting someone a thoughtful message.
In addition to the tables and small activities, there were also a number of musical performances for schools in D60. One school sang “Here comes the Sun.” They chose this song because it reflected the message of the peace summit.
“If you can't find the sunshine, be the sunshine,” Montoya said.
Montoya said it is important to encourage peace and harmony within pueblo schools.
“We want students to know they have someone to turn to, we want students to know we see them, we hear them and we value them,” Montoya said.
In addition to kindness, the district said they want to bring awareness to a more serious issue, suicide.
“Through the last few years there has been an increase in needs for dysregulation and social emotional support,” Montoya said.
This year d60 decided to include a guest speaker, to help educate students about suicide.
“Sergeant Kevin Briggs from San Francisco, he is known as the Golden Gate Guardian,” Montoya said.
Sergeant Kevin Briggs was a California Highway Patrol Officer. He helped stop over 200 people from taking their own life at the Golden Gate Bridge.
“This is Kevin Berthia, I met him on a very dark day in his life,” Briggs said.
In a presentation, Sergeant Briggs shared how he helped Mr. Berthia come back over the railing to safety. He also addressed myths about suicide, talked about warming signs and provided resources.
“It's a very hard topic to talk about, but he made it comfortable, he did not stigmatize it,” Clowser said.
Katherine Clowser is an eighth grader at Heaton Middle School. She said it's important to talk about suicide.
“Talking about how it is okay to feel weak and it's okay to feel sad, it really does help,” Clowser said.
Clowser said Sergeant Briggs' presentation taught her about warning signs.
“I am able to recognize the signs now, like how they are talking, if they are giving away possession, are they sleeping a lot or using substances, if I can recognize that I can help them get help even if I can't help them specifically,” Clowser said.
Clowser said she feels like there is a strong support system at her school. D60 says they want every student to know there are people that can help them through a difficult time.
“We don't want to lose one not on our watch, we are going to do everything we can to make sure they feel like they are loved and cared for and they have an adult they can do to,” Montoya said.
Sergeant Briggs also visited a few of the high schools in Pueblo this week to give a similar presentation. He said it's important for children to learn how to support one another.
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