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Our Community
September 5, 2018

When planning for a start of school update, I had anticipated writing about the outstanding opening to the 2018-2019 school year. However, this past Friday, we had an unprecedented weather event in our community. What I have seen and heard since Friday, changed my thinking.

For those who do not know, the Mount Joy area received a deluge of rain in a short period of time. Some reports have rainfall totals as high as 12-13 inches over the course of Friday afternoon. The monsoon like rains turned streets into rivers and created dangerous situations across our area.

The damage that occurred from the heavy rains has been widespread. There are some that had no impact, some who got a little water in their home, some who had flooded basements and others who have lost everything.

While this may sound like a sad tale, and in many cases it is, what has come out of this is a demonstration of community support like no other. First responders are working non-stop to help people in need. Neighbors who have suffered loss are putting their own needs aside to help others. The kindness and generosity of everyone is shining through. We are exceptionally proud to be a part of this community.

As a school district, we are taking our role in the recovery very seriously. We believe the best thing we can do right now is care for the children. We commit to ensuring our children are safe and cared for while at school. We commit to providing a listening ear and counseling services, if needed, to any child who needs to talk about their stress. We commit to understanding when assignments may not be completed because clean-up of a home is taking precedence. Ultimately, as always, we commit to loving and caring for the children of our community. Please contact your child's school if you need to inform us of anything related to your child and family's situation.
After all, we are all One Tribe!

Dr. Lausch
Teen Hope
Teen Hope
August 1, 2018

Donegal is beginning its second year of partnership with Samaritan Counseling Center to provide TeenHope to our students. TeenHope is a mental health awareness program in local middle and high schools, which screens students for depression, anxiety and suicide risk. Donegal offers this voluntary program to students in seventh grade. “The program is designed to build a school culture where mental health issues are openly discussed in a supportive environment,” said Gerald Ressler, Executive Director of Samaritan Counseling Center. It educates students about nurturing their own mental health and educates teachers on how to respond when a student comes to them for help.

All participating students complete a short questionnaire which is scored immediately. All students that complete the screening meet with an on-site mental health professional for the opportunity to ask questions. Students are encouraged to identify adults, in and out of school, to whom they could go to ask for help. Each student is given the national suicide prevention hotline number and asked to enter it into their contacts. If a student screens positive for depression, anxiety or suicidal ideation, this interview involves further evaluation and contact with the parents to determine what type of referral for services is appropriate. Further counseling can be provided by Samaritan or other providers.

In Lancaster County, 36% of teens have felt depressed or sad most days in the past year, 16% of students have had serious suicide thoughts in the past year, and 9.7% of students have attempted suicide at least once. This program helps identify students who we otherwise may not have realized were in need. Teens need to know that they can talk about depression and ask for the help without being afraid.

Samaritan administers the program and provides the team of counselors that screens hundreds of students each semester – all at no charge to the District. We have appreciated the partnership with Teen Hope. TeenHope is 100% donor funded! To learn more about TeenHope visit Samaritan Counseling Center’s website at