MILTON, Ga. – A lot has been made of the emotional problems facing students at Milton High School, resulting in several teen suicides and issues of bullying last year. While much has been done to educate and help parents on the issue, one student feels more could be done for her classmates.
Sarah Verhoff, a 16-year-old 11th-grader, has started a club called “Friends to Friends” with the sole purpose of making students feel better about themselves.
“Some teens with thoughts of suicide may not be comfortable talking with adults,” Verhoff said. “But they would open up to friends.”
Some of the efforts Verhoff envisions for the group are simple. They would write letters of encouragement to students who are feeling lonely or find a new friend every day.
“No one in the school should not have a friend,” she said.
Students would be encouraged to find lonely classmates during lunch and sit with them, or simply make a new friend and then pass on the good deed. Notes could be placed in lockers giving encouraging comments, such as “you are beautiful, strong, independent.” A secret box will be set up so students having problems can secretly send messages to school officials for help.
Working with the school psychologists, Verhoff said she hopes to make the school a better, brighter place for all students and get those with troubles the help they need.
“This is serious and we need to do this,” she said. “I don’t want anyone feeling worthless.”