Dear Editor,

As the new school year approaches, I’m thinking less about new crayons and backpacks and more about school safety.

As an educator with more than 20 years of experience, and now as chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, keeping our schools safe needs to go deeper than what is being discussed. Mental health services, wrap-around services and providing a climate of inclusion and kindness must be part of the solution.

After each act of school violence, it is revealed that a student without a sense of connection to a teacher, classmate, club or other activity was in desperate need of attention – more attention than can be provided by our schools, who have limited resources.

How can we link these students to caring adults who will provide the tools needed to cope, to engage and to care in a way that matches their interests and needs outside of a textbook?

Girl Scouts provides this connection. We have 12,000 adult volunteers waiting to welcome all girls into troops. Our leadership program is aligned with state standards and delivered in partnership with some of the best minds in our state. Girl Scouts provides a place to be with friends, often times first and new friends, a place for all girls to find their voice, to have a sense of belonging, all while learning lifelong lessons in leadership, STEM, financial literacy and outdoor adventure.

This year, add joining Girl Scouts to your back to school list. Visit girlscoutsindiana.org.

Sincerely,

Danielle Shockey, CEO

Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, Indianapolis

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