Bows on Buses

If you’re driving around Haywood County, you may notice that the HCS school buses have added a little pizzazz and color to their bright yellow exterior.

HCS Director of Coordinated School Health Elise Powell came up with the idea of “Bows on Buses” in order to draw awareness to various health matters, both mental and physical, over the course of the year.  Each school bus in the HCS fleet will be sporting a different color bow each month in coordination with the monthly topic of awareness.

“With transportation going all over the county, it spreads the message of awareness all over Haywood County.  We hope that will bring awareness to a greater number of people,” Elise said.

September is suicide awareness month and, while the topic is somewhat heavy, the theme of this particular campaign is to make sure students in HCS – and everyone in Haywood County – knows that they matter and are valued.

Project AWARE Director Twyla King hopes the positive message of the theme reminds students and citizens that help is available and no one is alone in their struggle.

“We want to spread a message of hope that the students matter,” Twyla said.  “We have our school counselors to provide support; we also have our Project AWARE team that provides resources in the schools that can help with any crisis situations.  We have a partnership with Professional Health Services.  If there are students who need more intensive services, we can refer them to PHS.  On the back of the Student ID’s, there are a list of resources that students can contact including the 988 suicide/crisis hotline.”

While the topic of emotional distress can be difficult for some teenagers (and adults) to broach, Twyla and Elise hope that students can find someone they can trust and confide in if things start to feel too heavy.

“If a student is feeling emotionally distraught, please find someone to talk to at home or at school – an adult or friend they trust.  If there is no one they feel comfortable talking to, the 988 hotline is something new that students can text or call,” Twyla said.

When you see an HCS bus this month with a purple bow on the front, be sure and give it a friendly wave…and also take a second to remind yourself that “You Matter.”