Your Reliable Source


Photo by: Mariam Tafwed

Between rigorous training programs and early morning meetings, the Potomac Falls Sources of Strength program has started to plan their activities for the 2021-2022 school year.

Sources of Strength is a nationwide program that helps encourage high school students to actively practice suicide prevention by establishing peer leaders who are trained in providing support to those who may be struggling. The program has a chapter here at Potomac Falls with an impressive group of student leaders for support.

The program is based around providing students with knowledge about the different support systems that they have if they do happen to be struggling with mental challenges. The Sources of Strength wheel is “different strength spots [that students have],” said senior Yas Saghafi. 

Sources of Strength was created to help students everywhere who may not know how to cope with challenges. “Research shows that the strengths highlighted can help protect us and our friends from anxiety, depression, and anger. We focus on healthy coping and connecting peers to adult support,” said Dr. Virginia Larsen. Dr. Virginia Larsen is the sponsor for the program this year alongside other adult ambassadors, including Pamela Newcomer, learning specialist, Samantha Hill, English, LaShon Dorsey, learning specialist, Onelly Natal, learning specialist, Mary Meinhardt, counseling and Babadamiola Alao, counseling. 

The wheel includes multiple support systems that students can use to help them get to a better place mentally. The sections include things like friends and family, spirituality, and physical health. Students who are in Sources of Strength get trained to teach students how to use the wheel “to cope,” said senior Yas Saghafi. 

The Sources of Strength program and the resources that it provides has been described as “inspiring and helpful to those who may need help,” said freshman Brynn Hunter. Hunter has been a member of the Sources of Strength program at both River Bend Middle School and Potomac Falls High School since being invited to the program as a sixth grader. 

With the support of their sponsor, school psychologist Dr. Virginia Larsen, the Sources of Strength program has been able to begin planning their prospective events for the 2021-2022 school year. Their current project includes a collaborative effort with the Sophomore Advisory Board to complete the “Gratitude Project”, whose details have yet to be revealed. 

Peer leaders got to work over the fall break to complete their annual training session. Like last year, this year’s training was virtual, and included three hours of students bettering their skills as systems of support. The program got ready for a busy year following a year of limited opportunities due to COVID.

During the virtual year, Sources of Strength was limited to reaching out to students through advisory presentations. Peer leaders still attended training sessions and kept their skills sharp. Participation in the club was “less than normal during the pandemic,” said junior Natalie Wike.

In years past, Sources of Strength has worked hard to connect with the student body. Their Turkey Trot event in 2019 drew families from around our community to encourage getting outside and relieving stress through physical activity. 

 The program has had a strong presence at Potomac Falls ever since it was founded, and this year is expected to be no exception.

Sources of Strength will be planning on doing at least two campaigns this year. We will also assist with advisory lessons throughout the year. For November, we are partnering with the Sophomore Advisory Board to encourage students to reflect on what Sources of Strength they are thankful for. Keep an eye out for our table during lunch 11/15-11/19.  We will hang a tree that reflects PFHS students’ strengths,” said Dr. Larsen. 

Dr. Larsen encourages students who are interested in joining Sources of Strength to reach out to her. “We really try to focus on having all of our students at PFHS represented,” said Dr. Larsen.