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Prairie South's superintendent explores how Homestand concert benefits students

This year’s Homestand ’24 concert has just been announced for Sept. 7, and Amanda Olson explains how students will benefit from the yearly fundraiser made possible by River Street Promotions
Amanda Olson (far left) is the superintendent of learning with the Prairie South School Division.

This year’s Homestand ’24 concert has just been announced for Sept. 7, and the driving force behind the project is to raise funds in support of youth mental health programs in both of Moose Jaw’s school divisions.

To explore the use of these funds, Amanda Olson, the superintendent of learning for the Prairie South School Division (PSSD), revealed a few recent projects made possible by the annual concert.

“Just to give people an idea of how we continue to use the funds year over year, one of the biggest areas is through a grant-matching initiative,” she said.

To access this mental health and wellness grant, a school must first apply with River Street Promotions. The program is school-wide, rather than set up as a standalone classroom project, and each separate school can access the funds to use as they see fit to address their unique needs.

Some of the projects made possible so far include specialized fairs that brought in a range of guests from yoga instructors to guest speakers with the aim of enhancing students’ wellness.

“Our goal is to put as many tools in our students’ toolboxes related to mental wellness as we can,” she said.

In one example, Riverview Collegiate has worked with Journey to Hope to put together lessons on dealing with holiday stress during the Christmas break. To further this partnership, Riverview used some of the funds to host a Christmas dinner, so all students had a chance to enjoy a holiday meal and celebrate together.

“The important piece of that… is they (educators at Riverview) had done some teaching around healthy coping strategies when (students were) managing the stresses of the holidays,” Olson explained.

In another example, the fund enabled several schools to create unique, tailored spaces with the aim of bringing students together and to disconnect from technology to facilitate face-to-face interactions. This break from the screen, Olson said, is another important aspect of our mental wellness.

Olson announced an upcoming project, the Community Wellness Collaborative, which will include both the PSSD and Holy Trinity Catholic School Division (HTCSD) to focus on students’ mental health and wellness this year, all while staying aligned with the Provincial Education Plan.

During the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week running from May 6 – 10, a new virtual youth conference will be held using pre-recorded presentations. Since each school operates on an independent time schedule, Olson said this will help overcome last year’s challenge as the presentations were recorded live and logistics had proven to be problematic.

This year’s Mental Health Week theme is “compassion,” so the schools’ presentations will be a spin-off of that theme, and Olson revealed that former Moose Jaw resident Cody Dill will be one of the upcoming speakers.

“Words can’t express how grateful PSSD and HTCSD are for this partnership,” Olson said. “I’m certainly not aware of any other partnerships like this with school divisions in any other areas of the province.

“From the bottom of our hearts, we appreciate everything that (River Street Promotions is) doing – not only for our students, but for the community and the communities that we serve.”

To purchase tickets for the upcoming Homestand ’24 concert in support of initiatives such as these, visit or stop by the Moose Jaw Cultural Centre’s box office at 217 Main Street North.

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