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

March 25, 2019

Make a Video!

It's no secret that the use of video content to inspire interest in anything and everything is on the rise:  YouTube is now the second largest search engine on the web, phones and ipads come pre-equipped with simple/creative video-making technology, and social media systems are filled with clips and slideshows set to music. 

Video is a powerful way to evoke emotions and connection due to its ability to utilize facial expression, tone of voice, and music. As an example, the following is a video made by National Sources of Strength highlighting a Sources Training retreat hosted last month in Boise:

National Sources Train the Trainer Video

As the school year comes to an end, what better way to showcase the accomplishments and/or revisit the campaign messages of your Sources of Strength team than by putting together a quick video?

As additional incentive, video can be used as a means to attract new Sources of Strength Peer Leaders for the upcoming year. Consider taking some pictures and video shorts during your next team meeting and combining them in a video demonstrating the fun and comraderie enjoyed by your Sources team. 

Once you put together your video, take the next step and share your creation during a school assembly, over a school-approved social media site, or as part of morning video announcements. 


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

February 4, 2019

Welcome to Boise Sources of Strength Trainers and Trainees

We are so glad you are here! If you are looking for a few activities and some good food and drink to keep you busy during your stay, here are some ideas to get you started:

Grab Dinner on 8th Street:

8th Street in Boise

Downtown Boise. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

No matter who you ask in Boise, they will tell you that the food scene is unique and delicious. We take pride in our state, and many of the restaurants downtown reflect that, using locally sourced ingredients from nearby farms and ranches. That being said, no trip to Boise is complete without stopping and indulging in some hearty cuisine – looking for a swanky lounge vibe? We have it. Casual pub food? Check. Mouth-watering desserts? All I can say is, bring your appetite. Check out a full list of downtown restaurants here. Also, if you need to walk off your dinner, take some time to check out the local art at Freak Alley and take in the culture of The Basque Block!

Shop Downtown Boise:

Downtown Boise at night.

Downtown Boise at night. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

Did you know that Boise is the biggest metropolitan area between Portland and Salt Lake City? That makes the City of Trees a huge shopping destination for Northwest travelers and visitors. In addition to outstanding retail shopping, we boast hundreds of one-of-a-kind local businesses. Don’t forget to enhance your Boise shopping experience by visiting one of the popular weekend public markets, Capital City Public Market or The Boise Farmers Market.

Shop and Explore The Village at Meridian:

The Village at Meridian. Photo Credit: The Village at Meridian

If you are staying in Meridian and looking for a fun, outdoor shopping and eating experience all in one area give the Village a try! The Village in Meridian

Visit Historic Hyde Park:

13th Street in Hyde Park. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

With a place on the National Historic Register, the architecture and sub-urban retail of the charming Hyde Park neighborhood located in North Boise is worth a stop. Hyde and Seek is a local favorite. Historic Hyde Park

Have a Beer at one of Boise’s Breweries:

Pouring a glass at Payette Brewing.

Pouring a glass at Payette Brewing. Photo credit: Payette Brewing

Speaking of local craft beer, Boise has tons of it. The City of Trees has long been home to a proud group of brewers and grain wranglers who have been mastering the craft of flavorful drafts for decades. Boise’s beer community has grabbed the attention of beer connoisseurs all over the U.S. From Highlands Hollow’s classic charm, hosting skiers and boarders after long days up on the hill, to joints like Payette Brewing with new state of the art breweries capable of keeping up with the national players. Tap into an Idaho brewery during your visit and check out the Idaho Brewers Trail Map.

Explore the Ridge to Rivers Trail System:

An air balloon floating over a city landscape.

A scenic view of downtown Boise from the Ridge to Rivers Trail System. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

There aren’t too many places where you can find a 25-mile riverside Greenbelt path right outside your hotel room. You’d be even more hard pressed to find city lodging that’s five minutes away from endless hiking trails, biking, and scenic foothills. Well, that’s exactly what you get when you visit the City of Trees, over 190 miles of expansive, interconnected trails only 5 minutes from your hotel room. You could spend days exploring the Ridge to Rivers Trail System and never hit the same trail twice. No matter which route you choose, you’re bound to come down from the foothills and bump into a local brewery – the perfect finish to an evening run or bike ride.

Do Some Night Skiing at Bogus Basin:

An evening view Bogus Basin. Photo Credit: Idaho Tourism

Looking for a quick way to get your blood flowing after a long day? Take the scenic drive to Bogus Basin for a bit of night skiing! Bogus Basin Nights

*Boise Area Actvities Information Provided By Idaho Tourism*

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

January 4, 2019

Peer Leader Recognition in the New Year

The start of the new year is the perfect time to celebrate the accomplishments made during the past year and to look forward to achieveing more in the upcoming year. It is a time to reflect on and be appreciative of days gone by and also to celebrate small victories, make decisions to change, and embark on new beginnings and fresh starts. A new year brings with it a great many reasons to celebrate!

In that vein, we would like to take a moment to remind all of our Sources schools about the importance of celebrating the Peer Leader team. Setting aside time to thank and recognize Peer Leaders for the hard work and time spent in the first half of the year is not only an important element of our mission, but can also keep morale and participation numbers high as you enter the second half of the school year. 

Your celebration need not be large or expensive to be meaningful. Below are some simple ideas that will help your Sources of Strength team feel acknowledged, valued, and motivated:

  • Link your celebration to the accomplishments of the team; reserve some time to reflect on your first campaign/s and what everyone did well for the first half of the year.
  • Pass out certificates, ribbons or funny hand-made "plaques" to acknowledge the participation of each team member.
  • If you aren't already aware, growing kids love to EAT! Serve food during your celebration. Not enough in the budget? No worries, make it a potluck.
  • Have FUN: learn a line dance together, play a round of reverse charades (Reverse Charades Instructions Link), play some minute to win it games (Minute to Win It Games Link)...the possibilities are endless.
Whatever you choose to do, no matter how big or small, just make sure you...

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

October 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