Idaho Lives Project: Hope, Help, and Strength for Idaho's Youth

December 10, 2018

Peer Leader Spotlight:    Meet Alli of Meridian Academy

Interview and Write-Up: Ali Shields

Alli is a Junior at Meridian Academy (Meridian, Idaho). She is the  peer leader coordinator for her Sources of Strength team. She became involved with Sources in her Freshman year, which is when her life changed for the better. You see, Alli was bullied relentlessly in middle school. She was the victim of emotional, cyber, and some physical bullying. The extent of her bullying was so bad that she planned to drop out. Alli did her research and discovered that she could legally drop out of school at the age of 16. So, she waited for that day.

However, that day never came because Alli was introduced to Sources of Strength. She says that her involvement with Sources has “made me a different person”. She states that she loves to make a difference and “has always wanted to become a leader but didn’t know how”, until Sources. Alli reports that Sources has helped her grow and realize her own internal strengths, as it encouraged her to come out of her shell and “expand my limits”. Alli reports having an anxious nature, which Sources has positively altered by increasing her self-confidence through campaigns and raising awareness about hope, help, and strength. Alli shared a story about co-facilitating the first major event her school produced, a school-wide color run. Before Sources, Alli said she was very introverted and kept to herself. However, during this event she was speaking in a microphone to dozens of attendees and did not let her anxiety cripple her once. Alli continues to seek out ways of improving herself by expanding limits and not remaining complacent.

Not only has Alli noticed improvements in her personal health, well-being, and outlook on life. But, she has observed the difference Sources makes in her school climate and culture. Alli says that her peers seem to be more “open with each other, there are more smiles”. She also says that her school has a more “fun” environment and an increase in positivity. She states that “it makes it easier to come to school”, because the culture is positive and inviting.

Alli says one of her favorite things to do as peer leader coordinator is “watch my peers grow”. As she is beginning to transition towards graduation, she is working with all the peer leaders to keep Sources in their school, for years to come. While working with her group, she wants to ensure everyone has an opportunity to have a spotlight moment, that could include hosting an event, coming up with an event, or even leading a meeting. Because of her personal experience with Sources, Alli knows just how impacting the program can be for both individuals and communities. That is why she wants to keep spreading the positive message of strengths resilience to all.“I want to make a difference and see that smile”. 

Because of Sources, Alli states she was able to “find where I belong” by identifying and accentuating her inner strengths, which cultivated a more productive and positive life. Because of her passion and drive, Alli has also been able to support others in their journey to finding greater self-understanding and awareness with Sources. Thank you Alli for all your hard work and dedication to changing the lives of others around you. You are a wonderful example and peer leader role model.

Idaho Lives Project: Hope, Help, and Strength for Idaho's Youth

November 12, 2018

Thanksgiving is right around the corner; what better time to take a quiet moment for yourself and reflect on the things you are grateful for in life. Did you know that studies show practicing gratitiude can have a huge impact on your outlook? Taking the time to think about the things you are grateful for can actually change the  physical make-up of the brain moving you toward feelings of contentment, joy and positivity. 

One way to practice gratitiude is to write down three things you are grateful for every day for 21 days. Need to keep yourself motivated? Text your gratitudes to another person (friend or family member) each day and have them do the same for you. See if you can make it through all 21 days without a miss!

Another fun way to celebrate thankfulness and gratitiude is to have your Sources of Strength team sponsor a Thanksfulness or Gratitiude Campaign this month. You can use your Sources of Strength Thankfulness Journals/Thankfulness Challenge Sheets or come up with your own creative way to spread the messages of thankfulness and gratitude throughout your school. 

In the following pictures you will see how the Sources team from Heritage Academy in Jerome, ID offered students the opportunity to write their gratitiudes on feathers to be displayed on their "plucky" hallway turkey and how the Sources team from Compass Charter School of Boise, ID used autumn leaves for display on a hallway tree to the same purpose. 

Idaho Lives Project: Hope, Help and Strength for Idaho's Youth

November 4, 2018

The Perfect Blank Canvas...has your Sources team considered the benefits of custom t-shirt design?

Whether you're trying to raise awareness for your next campaign or simply interested in boosting your team's spirit, a custom t-shirt can really get things moving in the right direction. 

Not convinced? Here are three potential benefits to having your team design a custom shirt for your school Sources program:

1. A Custom T-Shirt Can Build Unity Within a Group/School: Custom shirts can act as a unifying force for your student team that can spread throughout the school. Team shirts can aid in development of a sense of comradery and togetherness as students participate in Sources activities. This sense of common-cause can help build a strong community. 

2. Custom T-Shirts Make a Lasting Impression: We all want to be unique; creating a custom design will help your team stand out. Great artwork and ideas are remembered. What a perfect opportunity to let the creative members of your team take the wheel!

3. Custom T-Shirts Can Make Great Give-Aways: Because of low-cost, custom t-shirts make excellent prizes for Sources raffles and contests. Offering Sources shirts to the wider school community can also be a catalyst for the sense of belonging the program hopes to foster. 

Wondering where to start? How about getting the creative juices flowing by showing your Sources team some examples of shirts designed and printed by a few of our Idaho schools:

Meridian Academy High School, Meridian ID:

Sources of Strength "Color Run" shirt with Sources wheel represented in the title of the shirt.

Lowell Scott Middle School, Boise ID:

"We Are Connected"- if you look closly you will see the words "we are" woven into the branches of the tree.

Centennial High School, Boise ID:

"Tune In To Your Strengths"-the Sources wheel with the listing of strengths used as the "record" on the turntable. 

Pocatello High School, Pocatello ID:

"Thank You For Being a Source of Strength For Me!"- the strengths of the Sources wheel are represented by each feather on the back of the shirt. 


Idaho Lives Project: Hope, Help and Strength for Idaho's Youth 

September 24, 2018 

                                                                       FEATURED EVENT:       


           School Year Kick-Off/Sources-School Volleyball Game                 Hosted as a joint event between Compass Charter School and Rimrock Jr/Sr High School

When Patricia Barnes, Sources of Strength program lead and counselor for Compass Charter School, realized Compass was scheduled to play another Sources of Strength school in an upcoming volleyball game, she jumped at the chance to make the game a Sources event. With the help of Jamie Metcalf, Sources program lead and counselor of Rimrock Jr/Sr High School, Patricia's idea went quickly from possibility to reality.

The focus of the volleyball event was to support the school communities, their Sources programs, and to promote the Sources tenets of belonging and connectedness. To exemplify this focus, Compass hosted a pizza dinner for the visiting Rimrock team. Additionally, Peer Leaders from both schools attended the event and designed Sources themed posters which were displayed on gym walls during the game:  

 Peer Leaders and Adult Advisors from Compass Charter added to the fun by running a raffle for all attending students with Sources of Strength themed treat bags as prizes. 

 The volleyball event was a great success. According to several students,         turnout for the game was much higher than usual. Peer Leaders enjoyed         having an oppotunity to spend time together and experience the spirit and       culture of another Sources school.

 During this event the Idaho Lives Project took a moment to ask  Peer             Leaders for their reflections on the Sources of Strength Program:

Sarah, Compass Charter, Peer Leader for 2 Years: "Sources has helped me learn more about what I can do when people come to me with problems. I have a better understanding of how to talk to them and I am more comfortable directing them to trusted adults. Sources has also helped me understand where I am already strong and strengths I can develop to help when I am having a hard time."

Gentry, Rimrock High School, Peer Leader for 4 Years:  "Having Sources of Strength has definately helped the bullying go down a lot in my school. People are more aware of each other in good ways."

Alyssa, Compass Charter School, Peer Leader for 1 Year: "I have noticed that students are more caring for eachother than they have been in the past. There is a general feeling that, even though we might not all be close friends, everyone is still concerned about the well-being of everyone else."

Magaly, Rimrock High School, Peer Leader for 4 Years: "The program is really cool because it helps you get to know new people...people you might not normally get the chance to know. You get to learn about who they really are, not just who you think they might be." 

Rebekah, Compass Charter School, Peer Leader for 1 Year: "I loved the training (Sources) and the whole concept of it. Not only did I learn how to help others, I also learned a lot about myself. I like the idea of the strength circle and how all the strengths work together and build on eachother."

Idaho Lives Project: Hope, Help and Strength for Idaho's Youth 

August 16, 2018


Welcome to shorter days and longer nights. Welcome fall leaves, warm blankets, and football season. Welcome fresh notebooks, newly sharpened pencils, and new challenges. Last, but not least, welcome to our newest cohort of Sources of Strength schools:

  • Kootenai Jr/Sr High School, Harrison
  • Meridian Middle School, Meridian
  • Gateways Secondary School, Nampa
  • Butte County Jr/Sr High School, Arco
  • Lewis-Clark Middle School, Meridian
  • Blackfoot Charter Middle School, Blackfoot
  • South Hills Middle School, Twin Falls
  • Meridian Medical Arts and Technical Charter High Schools, Meridian
  • Orofino Jr/Sr High School, Orofino
  • Salmon River Jr/Sr High School, Riggins
  • Idaho City Middle/Sr High School, Idaho City
  • Payette High School, Payette
  • Timberlake Junior High School, Spirit Lake
  • Victory Middle School, Meridian
  • Lakekand Junior High School, Rathdrum
  • Skyview High School, Nampa
  • Mountain View Alternative High School, Rathdrum