Elwoods make Project Prevent donation

Mike Wolanin | The Republic Mark and Wendy Elwood address guests during an update meeting for the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Bartholomew County program at The Commons in Columbus, Ind., Wednesday, April 25, 2018. The Elwoods donated $500,000 to as part of a grant fundraising process to help combat the opioid problem in Bartholomew County. An additional $500,000 was raised by community members.

A local couple was recently recognized for a $50,000 contribution to the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.

Mark and Wendy Elwood were honored by BCSC school board members for their continuing commitment to Project Prevent.

“Beginning in 2019, the Mark and Wendy Elwood Foundation began generously providing funding to create opportunities to support our K-6 students in making positive choices, especially when it comes to drugs,” said Superintendent Jim Roberts. “This project became known as Project Prevent. Since the introduction of this program, all first and fourth grade classrooms now have a dedicated time to guide students through the steps to making positive life choices, as well as teaching students how to care for their own mental health.”

The couple donated $500,000 to the community’s opioid fight in 2017 via the Mark and Wendy Elwood Substance Abuse Prevention Fund, which the community matched with another $500,000 for a $1 million total for Project Prevent. This effort supports substance abuse prevention education for youth and young adults.

Director of Elementary Instruction Laura Hack said that the Elwoods have contributed to BCSC through Project Prevent since 2019, and the $50,000 donation in 2021 was for first and fourth grade curriculum. It supports the work of Sarah Frasier, the Social/Emotional Curriculum Coordinator, so that she can teach students using Too Good for Drugs and LifeSkills curricula. Frasier also incorporates “mental health support” into her teaching.

“There are other district-sponsored programs for students of the other age groups to continue learning about choices,” Hack said. “You can see that we have created a foundation so students, as they matriculate, are taught the importance of making wise decisions and coping strategies and the examples become more relevant to their specific age group.”

She added funds from the Elwoods’ donation also go towards resources for staff, students and parents “to help grow their knowledge around mental health support” and “improve their overall wellbeing.”

Hack said that the school corporation is thankful for the Elwood’s support.

“We know how critical it is that we all work together on our mental health, we all work together on our community needs,” she said. “And the Elwoods stepped up to make that a reality for us at BCSC.”

“BCSC is grateful to the Elwood Foundation for helping us launch this important instruction to our young students, and we look forward to seeing these positive results in our schools and community as our students continue to grow and understand the importance of their mental well-being,” said Roberts. “Thank you, Mark and Wendy, for your continued contributions to our school corporation and, therefore, the kids of our community.”