Boeing announces $1M grant in Charleston Co. schools, MUSC health partnership

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 9:14 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Officials with Boeing announced Monday morning at grant to help a growing number of students in Charleston County who are battling anxiety and depression.

Boeing will grant $1 million to the Medical University of South Carolina’s Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness, Jennifer Lowe, Boeing’s vice president for national strategy and engagement, said. Charleston County School Board Chair Rev. Dr. Eric Mack said the Charleston County School District matched Boeing’s $1 million grant. In total, $2 million dollars will help the center expand existing programs to include mental health in response to the pandemic, officials said.

Mack explained these new services will include training for teachers to help children deal with stress, access to MUSC Telehealth, and other high quality, trauma focused mental health services.

“As we all know, this pandemic has been a traumatic experience in different ways for all of us,” Lowe said. “As a mom of three children, I know how difficult this past year and a half to two years have been on children and their families.

The grant will allow MUSC’s Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness to expand its offerings. Lowe said she has been heartened to see the work MUSC and Charleston County Schools have done to keep students healthy over the past 10 years. During that time, the center focused on wellness and obesity prevention, working directly with schools to implement programs promoting healthy eating, physical activity and social-emotional learning.

Support will include training for classroom teachers to help children find appropriate coping mechanisms and ways to deal with stress as well as integration of MUSC Telehealth which will bring high-quality, evidence-based, trauma-focused mental health services to children in a school setting.

The funding will support the development of a plan to substantially change and improve the mental health system.

“With this investment, MUSC and the BCCW will be able to dedicate resources to children’s physical and mental health while creating space for Charleston County School District to focus on their core mission of academic achievement,” Lowe said.

MUSC President Dr. David Cole said the partnership has already shown “significant results in reducing childhood obesity and improving student wellness.”

“These funds will make a significant difference in helping the MUSC Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness meet the increasing need for mental health support in schools,” he said.

Mack said students have experienced “profound loss in many, many ways” this past year.

“The provision of high-quality mental health services for our students and robust training for our staff is essential to ensuring our children have the tools they need to begin recovery from the impacts of COVID-19,” Mack said.

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