AVOYELLES, La. (WNTZ) — The Cook Center for Human Connection, a nonprofit dedicated to mental health and suicide prevention with schools and families, today announced the 20 rural and urban schools from across the nation that were selected to receive Calm Room Grants. The grant program was launched last year to help schools create an in-school safe space for students to reset when they feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, or frustrated.

The Cook Center offered matching grants of up to $5,000 per school for up to 25 schools to create a Calm Room in their building. More than 200 schools applied, and those that demonstrated the greatest need and ability to make an immediate impact were selected as grant winners.

The grant awardees selected were:

School:                                                            District:                                                             State:

Woods ElmFort SmithAR
Cutter Morning Star School DistrictCutter Morning StarAR
Baboquivari High/Middle SchoolBaboquivari Unified School District #40AZ
Hayward High SchoolHayward Unified School DistrictCA
Savoy Elementary SchoolWashington DCDC
Ft. Clarke Middle SchoolAlachua CountyFL
Declo ElementaryCassia County Joint School DistrictID
Highland Park High SchoolTownship High School District #113IL
AVAP- Avoyelles Virtual and Alternative ProgramAvoyelles Parish School DistrictLA
Genesee Jr/Sr High SchoolGenesee School DistrictMI
Cleveland ElementaryLivonia Public SchoolsMI
Wegienka Elementary SchoolWoodhaven Brownstown SchoolsMI
Lockwood Elementary SchoolLockwood School District #26MT
Ben Franklin Middle SchoolKenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union School DistrictNY
Pickaway Pathways for SuccessPickaway County ESCOH
Norwin Middle SchoolNorwin School DistrictPA
Wallenpaupack Area High SchoolWallenpaupack Area School DistrictPA
Mansfield Timberview High SchoolMansfield ISDTX
Backman Elementary SchoolSalt Lake City School DistrictUT
Bingham High SchoolJordan School DistrictUT
Salem Junior High SchoolNebo School DistrictUT
Whittier Elementary SchoolSalt Lake City School DistrictUT
Walden School of Liberal Arts: High SchoolWalden School of Liberal ArtsUT
Parley’s Park Elementary Calming RoomPark City School DistrictUT
Summit Innovations SchoolTeton County School DistrictWY

“The Cook Center is proud to support schools across the nation that are dealing with the mental health crisis,” said CEO Anne Brown. “As school leaders implement a variety of strategies to address mental health concerns in students of all ages, calm rooms are a powerful, research-backed tool to improve student well-being.”

A calm room is a supportive, therapeutic environment where students go to focus on self-calming efforts and learn to self-regulate their bodies and their emotions. Calm rooms feature quiet spaces with low-stimulation decor and fixtures, soft furniture and carpet, and other materials that reduce stress and foster positive coping techniques. Research shows that calming spaces can:

  • Reduce negative student behaviors;
  • Create stronger relationships between staff and students;
  • Boost student learning;
  • Improve students’ self-esteem; and
  • Reduce stress on students and staff.

Through the Calm Room Grants, the Cook Center aims to help school communities throughout the United States get the resources they need to boost mental health support and improve student well-being and school culture. The grants require that each school have a plan to open a new safe space in their school building within the 2022-23 school year and have matching funds of $5,000 or more to pay for the installation. Each school will be required to report on the building, completion, and usage of the calm rooms.

For more information about the Cook Center for Human Connection and their Calm Room grant, go to www.cookcenterforhumanconnection.org.

About the Cook Center for Human Connection

The mission of the Cook Center is to bring together the best organizations, programs, and products to prevent suicide, provide mental health support, and enhance the human connections vital for people to thrive. The foundation’s current focus is on supporting children, families, and schools with youth mental health resources and on the goal of eradicating suicide. This work is accomplished through various grants to schools, programs for parents, and global resources to bring greater awareness to the support needed for those affected by mental health needs and suicide. Their free resources created to support child mental health and prevent suicide include  My Life Is Worth Living™, the first animated series about teen mental health and suicide prevention, and ParentGuidance.org, a mental health resource giving parents the tools to have the important conversations at home. Their content includes free on-demand courses taught by licensed therapists, and family mental health nights hosted by trained professionals. Learn more at CookCenterforHumanConnection.org.

(Press release from