Mental Wellness Initiative

Raising Mental Health Awareness for our Peabody Students

The Peabody Education Foundation is pleased to announce that it is launching a Mental Wellness Initiative to benefit Peabody students, teachers and parents.

In collaboration with North Shore Bank, the JB Thomas-Lahey Foundation, and the GraVoc Charitable Foundation, the PEF will be providing reading materials, motivational speakers, and other resources to help our schools deal with the mental health issues that have escalated during the past two years due to COVID, as well as those issues that continue to challenge our schools every day.

The PEF is working with School Administrators to determine which programs will most benefit the schools.

“Covid has impacted the mental wellness of our students and teachers significantly.  The Peabody Education Foundation feels it is important to assist the Peabody Schools by providing resources to address this growing concern. Our hope through this Initiative is to deliver programs that will help bring balance and emotional support to our schools. Special thanks to our incredible sponsors, North Shore Bank, JB Thomas-Lahey Foundation, and the GraVoc Charitable Foundation, for stepping up   and assisting us in this endeavor.”

David Gravel

PEF President and Chairperson David Gravel of GraVoc Associates

“We are so grateful  for the generosity of the PEF and their donors, North Shore Bank, the JB Thomas-Lahey Foundation, and the GraVoc Charitable Foundation, for specifically identifying Mental Health as an area to support the schools. The past two years have taken an incredible toll on our students, staff and families. Supporting mental health in our schools and community is a critical need.  These funds will be utilized to provide resources and activities for our students, staff and families   as they foster our vision of Hope for Every Student, Every Day.”

Joshua Vadala

Peabody Superintendent of Schools

Most Recent Mental Wellness Programs:

We will be adding programs to our Mental Wellness Initiative throughout the year. Check out what programs we are currently funding below and check back soon for newly added programs!

Ice Cream Social for Teachers & Staff

On March 15th, 2024 at the conclusion of Professional Development Day, the PEF hosted an ice cream social at the Higgins Middle School and PVMHS as a thank you to Peabody teachers and staff for all of the work they do throughout the year for our students!  Special thanks to Treadwell’s Ice Cream for donating the ice cream and to all of our PEF volunteers!

Kid Kindness Club – All Elementary Schools

​The Peabody Education Foundation is pleased to announce that the “Kids Kindness Club” will be coming to all elementary schools beginning this fall! The Program is part of Connor’s Kindness Project, a nonprofit out of Lynnfield that was started by student Connor Wright during the pandemic to remind us that there is good in the world even at times when we are faced with conflicts and challenges. The ongoing goal is to help others while also spreading positivity, one act of kindness at a time.

The “Kids Kindness Club” is a way to bring kindness to elementary aged school children and lead students on their way to helping others with small acts of kindness and familiarize them with community service. The program is designed to bring comfort, support and kindness to children in various challenging situations. By providing them with educational resources and opportunities to engage in acts of kindness, the program aims to make a positive impact in their lives.

Following an introductory assembly at each Peabody elementary school led by a Team CKP Kindness Teacher, members of the Kindness Club will receive a list of kindness challenges that include tasks such as writing a thank you note or completing an act of service without being asked. These challenges are designed to be fun and easy to complete, while also promoting empathy, kindness, and social awareness in children.

Every student will take a pledge of kindness and receive a membership certificate once they complete 20 acts of kindness from a list provided by Connor’s Kindness Project, as well as a Kindness is My Superpower sticker.

In the News:
ItemLive – Kids Kindness Club comes to Peabody schools

Past Mental Wellness Programs:

Check out the speakers and programs we’ve funded in the past!

“Think Spaces” Program

We are excited to share that our Mental Wellness Initiative “Think Spaces” are now located in a majority of the elementary school classrooms across the Peabody School district and has been in full use since September 1, 2023!

The initiative to add “Think Spaces” to each classroom came about as School Adjustment Counselors collaborated and looked across the district to find common needs across schools. Counselors identified that students needed a space to regroup their thoughts and feelings before returning to schoolwork. Adding a “Think Space” to every classroom will make accessing such spaces more convenient and less stigmatizing for children.  “Think Spaces” are small areas in each classroom where students are able to calm down, think, and reflect when they are anxious or emotional. The Spaces help address the social-emotional needs of students and are increasingly used across the Commonwealth. The areas are equipped with comfortable furniture, emotions posters, strategy ideas, and fidget tools. Below are some pictures and thank you comments from some students, teachers and counselors.

Once again, special thanks to the J.B. Thomas–Lahey Foundation, who generously funded this program in its entirety, and to School Adjustment Counselor Maria Champigny who submitted the grant application to the PEF Grants Committee, on behalf of the Peabody School Department School Adjustment Counselors.

In the News:
WBZ News Radio –Peabody Creates ‘Think Spaces’ In Schools To Help Kids Process Emotions


“I really love the idea of a Think Space. I love the name and love how it will also go along with our think sheets. Building and using a Think Space within our classrooms is so beneficial in so many ways:

  • Provides an area for self awareness and self management/regulation- without judgment.
  • Helps decision making.
  • Promotes social awareness.
  • Creates a predictable routine: by having one in every classroom and using the same language.

Providing our students with some strategies like using a think space will help students cope with issues down the road as well. It’s become a natural part of my classroom where students have been asking to use it when they are having strong feelings. The Think Space will help de escalate issues in the future as well. The Think space, equipped with breathing techniques, posters on emotions and fidgets also aid in this process. Thank you for bringing this wonderful tool into our schools. I truly believe it will help to avert a lot of students from being in crisis.”

2nd Grade Teacher

“Once teachers prompt the students to use this space and explain to them how it is meant to be utilized, they will notice a difference in behavior in the classroom and it will promote keeping the students in the classroom to decrease time out of the classroom, therefore creating more opportunities for learning.”

School Adjustment Counselor

“Peabody Education Foundation, We truly appreciate your support to create the Think Spaces. You made our vision for our students become a reality. Thank you for all you do.”

Peabody Public Schools Elementary School Adjustment Counselors

“This space is associated as a positive in my classroom. They are not just for students who are having a difficult time. They’re also for students who I see working really hard and could use that break.”

2nd Grade Teacher

“It is great that all classrooms will have this social/emotional area. It will be really helpful for the students that really need it.”

Guidance Counselor

Higgins Core Trainings – 7th Graders

 In May 2023, all seventh-grade students participated in a training facilitated by Core Trainings!

Core Trainings provides a foundation of enhancing relationships, leadership, life skills, and an understanding and development of Social-Emotional Intelligence; reinforcing the value and power in relational leadership and how you live your life with others. Their programs are designed to enhance one’s relationship with others, their leadership potential, increase self-worth, become socially aware of one’s actions, communication, and build intellectually stronger teams through a value-based focus. They reinforce a growth mindset to support becoming behaviorally intelligent and to empower a mindset to practice effective relationships and leadership.

The customized workshops are interactive and include small and large group discussions and hands on learning building the foundation of community. The workshops will focus on:

• What is Social and Emotional Intelligence, WHY is it important, and how does it affect our relationships.
• How to be an effective classmate that understands the value in building meaningful and intentional relationships with peers, classmates, teammates, staff, and community.
• Interactive activities that support being mindful of what empathy is and adapting to the needs of others.
• Becoming socially aware of the value of others and how we really can appreciate ALL people.

Special thanks again to our Mental Wellness Initiative Sponsors: Lyon-Waugh Auto Group, North Shore Bank, JB Thomas-Lahey Foundation and GraVoc Charitable Foundation!

TIGER Performances – Peabody Elementary Schools

TIGER is a powerful and exciting collaboration between the Integrated Arts and School Counseling graduate programs at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.

Now in their 20th season, TIGER is a professional theater company designed to help children, schools, parents and communities deal positively and proactively with social issues and concerns facing children in schools today.  They are passionate about teaching social-emotional skills and empowering school-age children to make the right choices in difficult situations.  TIGER offers exceptional original musical performances based on the writing of children, along with interactive experiences and workshops for students, teacher and parents.  Their productions focus on real issues facing students today, and use music, theatre, dance, humor and wit to engage, educate and entertain.

Emmy award winning TIGER has performed for over 530,000 students throughout New England.  TIGER has also performed at the state level for the New Hampshire Department of Education, regionally for the New England Theatre Conference, nationally for the American Alliance for Theater and Education, and internationally for the National Drama International Conference at Durham University in Durham, England, the ASSITEJ International Festival of Children’s Theater in Cairo, Egypt and the IDA World Congress in Paris, France.

The Peabody Education Foundation was pleased to sponsor TIGER performances at all eight elementary schools in February and March of 2023 for a total of 12 shows!

Dr. Adolph Brown speaks to PVMHS students!

The Peabody Education Foundation and the Peabody School Department was pleased to bring Dr. Adolph Brown to PVMHS on February 3, 2023. Dr. Brown recently met with Peabody teachers and staff and was so impressive that he was asked to return to speak to High School students!

Dr. Brown prescribes verbal medicine that heals the soul. He was voted U.S. Secretary of Inspiration™, the youngest full-tenured university professor (research scientist) in the U.S. in 1999 at the age of 29, is CEO at the Business & Education Leadership Authority, was named among the Top 50 Motivational Speakers in the World, and has been seen on TV – CBS, ABC, NBC, PBS, FOX and more! He is an award-winning author, highly sought-after corporate thought leader, and distinguished master teacher. He was only two years old when his father abandoned his family and 11 years old when his only brother and oldest sibling was murdered. He overcame a life without a father, poverty and violence.

His unconventional approach has been enormously empowering, and it transcends differences of every kind – political, philosophical, religious, socio-economic, generational, gender, lifestyle, etc. Dr. Brown is admired around the world for his simple, yet powerful, universal, timeless teachings.

Social Emotional Libraries

Social Emotional Libraries have been distributed to all eight elementary schools in the City of Peabody and will be accessible to all elementary school teachers to use for social emotional teaching in their classrooms.

Overseen by the school’s guidance counselor, these motivational paperback and hardcover books cover topics including responsibility, respectfulness, being safe, cooperation, acceptance, resilience and empathy. Some of the books included in the library:” But It’s Not My Fault”, “Teach Your Dragon Respect”, “The Juice Box Bully”, “Can I Play Too?”, “I am Enough”, “She Persisted”, “You are Awesome”, “We’re All Wonders”, “How full is your bucket” and “What if Everybody Did That?”. Stickers inside each book include the names of the sponsors and carry the message “Be Kind to Yourself’.

The PEF would like to thank school counselors Maria Champigny and Jackie Rose from the McCarthy Elementary School who initially brought the library to the attention of the Peabody Education Foundation Grants Program Committee as a Grant application. Maria and Jackie felt that, as a result of the pandemic, they were seeing an increased need for coping strategies in order to help students self-regulate and be able to access their learning. The Committee was impressed with the idea and expanded it to include all elementary schools under the Mental Wellness Initiative.

In the News:

WBZ Channel 4 – How social emotional learning builds skills to help kids improve their mental health

Amazing Hero Artist: Rob Surette

The Peabody Education Foundation, along with community sponsor North Shore Community Action Programs, is excited and proud to have world-famous Speed-Painter, ROB SURETTE, performing at our elementary and middle schools!

In the last 29 years, Rob has visited over 4,000 schools worldwide, spreading messages of self-empowerment, positivity, equality, kindness and hope! Rob has appeared on The TODAY Show, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America and The Oprah Winfrey Show!  He is a Top-Tier Master Fine Artist for Disney, Lucasfilm, MARVEL, DC Comics, DreamWorks and Muppets!

Rob will appearing at all elementary schools in Peabody during the month of March, and at the Higgins Middle School in late May.  He will bring his messages of perseverance, respect, strength and struggles, strategies and routines and healthy lifestyle to his art performance.

In the News:
Salem News – Portrait pays tribute to late superintendent


Motivational Speaker Norm Bossio

As part of our Mental Wellness Initiative, the Peabody Education Foundation sponsored Norm Bossio, motivational speaker.  Norm spoke to the high school students at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School about how to take control of your life, getting your priorities straight and using the gifts you have been given while taking a long hard look at yourself in the mirror, all delivered with humor!

For over 30 years, Norm Bossio has spoken in front of nearly 3 million audience members in venues ranging from an American Indian Village Tribunal to the Hoosier Dome.  Norm once spoke to 400 high school students, 50 lingerie salespeople, and 45 nuclear physicists…all in the same day.  Having keynoted national conferences in virtually every major industry, Norm’s audiences have included clients ranging from Bill Clinton to Stephen King.  Prior to starting his own business, he served as a teacher, principal, and superintendent of schools.  For 8 years, Norm was an adjunct faculty member and consultant to the management certificate program at Stonehill College.  He received his B.S. from Springfield College and M. Ed. from Boston State College.  In 2006, Norm hosted the national public television special, “Staying Motivated on the Deck of the Titanic with Norm Bossio.”  His first book was recently published by DogEar Publishing in Indianapolis, IN.  In 1994, Norm was named Speaker of the Year by the Yankee Chapter of Meeting Planners Internal.

In the News:

ItemLive – Speaker Motivates Peabody High Students


Support our Initiative 

If you would like to make a donation to help fund our Mental Wellness Initiative, please click the button below to view our donation page!

Sponsored by:

We would like to thank our sponsors of our Mental Wellness Initiative programs!

Peabody Education Foundation

The Peabody Education Foundation provides unique programs and advanced technology to thousands of students and teachers who might otherwise not enjoy such experiences due to budget constraints.

P.O. Box 233
Peabody, MA 01960