Supporting Mental Health at Sanford Middle School

For students, distance learning replaced classrooms as stay-at-home orders arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their usual support systems, such as school sports and social mentorship programs, went virtual or were canceled altogether.

The students of Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis have experienced all this, plus even more traumatizing events. Early in May, they grieved the death of one of their fellow sixth graders. Then, many lost access to food and other necessities when local businesses were looted and burned to the ground at the start of the George Floyd protests.

Yearning to help these students, Random Acts Regional Representative Holly Olsen reached out to Sanford Middle School’s Care Team. This team of school social workers and counselors acts as a support system for the students, families, and staff.

Summer Supply Shopping


game delivery

Karina, a member of Sanford’s Care Team, preparing to deliver the games

Becky Wessman of Sanford’s Care Team explained how kids and families need activities that strengthen their mental health, especially in light of recent events. She shared a list of toys and games that they were collecting for their students, and Holly set out shopping. The list included cards and board games, plus outdoor items such as water toys, sidewalk chalk, hula hoops, and jump ropes.

Holly was determined to shop as local as possible to keep the money within the Minnesota area. This goal proved especially challenging when purchasing water sprinklers and other outdoor toys. Those items are often the first off the shelves when hot summer weather hits, which happened to be the same day in June that Holly began shopping. She ended up ordering sprinklers and jump ropes online but was excited to find the other items on sale at local chain stores and homegrown game shops.

toys for mental health support

After finishing her shopping, Holly handed off the toys and games for Sanford’s Care Team to distribute to families. In light of everything the students have witnessed and experienced this year, Holly is grateful that she could help spread some summer fun and good health.

Interested in helping those affected by the pandemic and recent events in your community? Check out Random Acts COVID-19 Support Program or reach out to your regional representative for opportunities near you.