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Faces of Fairview #4: Sources of Strength and Ayako Kiyota

By Emma O'Leary in Student News

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Ayako Kiyota is one of the leaders of the Sources of Strength club, a nationally recognized club that deals with mental health.

“We simply focus on mental health in general,” Kiyota said. “We focus on anxiety, depression bullying, drug abuse, alcohol abuse.”

Sources of Strength follows a wheel with eight different pieces: family support, positive friends, mentors, healthy activities, generosity, spirituality, mental health, and medical access.

“We use that wheel as the basis of our messages,” Kiyota said. “Our mission, essentially, is we try to just say that every person can have a healthy mental health and that mental health is not a bad thing, there should not be a bad stigma around it, and we encourage everyone to use the things around them to improve their mental health and also if they have mental health issues [to] go get help.”

Ms.Houston, a counselor, is the adult leader of the club. The club also works with Jamie Smally, who was the interventionist at Fairview but has a different job now.

According to Kiyota, the projects that Sources of Strength are most known for are the Sticky Note Project, where they write inspirational quotes on sticky notes and put them on all of the lockers, and Wellness day.

“[Wellness day is] the friday before finals where we have little stations all around the school,” Kiyota said.

Stations include cookie making, art projects, and therapy dogs.

“This year what we’re doing a little differently is we’re trying to get the student body more engaged into our project,” Kiyota said. “We’ve rebooted our instagram and our snapchat, we have a lot of projects set up throughout the year that are going to be a lot of competition based.”

According to Kiyota, some of the club’s projects for this year will involve student submissions as well.

“I think personally my favorite part of the club is the people because we’re all so passionate about mental health,” Kiyota said. “Everyone in the club is so passionate about trying to make a difference, I think that’s the best part of the club.”

Kiyota first heard about Sources of Strength from her Knight Crew Leaders in Freshman Seminar. She asked Mr.Mowen about the club and he agreed to nominate her to join it (students must be nominated to join the club).

“I  joined my freshman year and ever since then I’ve loved it,” Kiyota said.

According to Kiyota, a majority of the club members either know someone who has experienced mental health issues or they have experienced mental health problems personally.

“It definitely is a great thing actually, because it’s so easy for them to relate to the projects that we’re trying to get out and the messages we’re trying to get out,” Kiyota said.

The club is small but has several projects planned throughout the year.

“I hope that everyone [...]  takes the message to heart,” Kiyota said. “There are so many things around you that you can use as [...] your sources to help you deal with [mental health problems].”

Kiyota said, “I personally really want to become a therapist when I grow up, so I think this is just a great step for me.”

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