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Seed School Miami receives $7,000 grant thanks to MTV's Mental Health Action Day

Miami school receives $7,000 grant thanks to MTV's Mental Health Action Day
Miami school receives $7,000 grant thanks to MTV's Mental Health Action Day 03:11

MIAMI — From massages to manicures, painting ponies and petting puppies, Thursday marked a special occasion at Seed School Miami.

Students from sixth to 12th grade indulged in a day dedicated to self-care and wellness, all thanks to a generous grant from MTV. The network's Mental Health Action Day initiative, which is aimed at promoting mental health awareness, has brought together various activities to foster a sense of community and well-being among the students.

"And they wanted to create an opportunity for organizations to come together to spread self-care," Makish Noel said. "And so, the goal was to create opportunities for people across the states to really lean into what health and wellness means for them."

Miami's brother-and-sister team Makisha and Jefferson Noel spearheaded the initiative under his Barbershops Speaks Program, securing a $7,000 grant from MTV and CBS for Seed School Miami. 

"So we started Barbershop Speaks in 2016 based off the idea that people don't go to barbershops only for haircuts, but they go for conversation for community," Jefferson said. "And so the barbershop is that place where people feel free to express themselves and be their authentic selves."

He emphasized the importance of their understanding of what mental health and self-care mean.

"They can understand that their mental health matters and they can, they could learn about new outlets in order to express themselves and in order to become more mentally healthy, " Jefferson added.

The ASK method — emphasizing Acknowledge, Support, and Keep in touch — is being promoted as a simple way for students to support one another emotionally. 

"So A stands for 'ask,' meaning acknowledge; S for 'support' and K for 'keep in touch,'" an organizer explained.

"This is an easy way for students to support one another in their schoolyard, " Makisha added.

Beyond the grant, the Brady Hunter Foundation has contributed picnic tables, ponies, puppies, and roosters to the event. The presence of these furry and feathered friends has brought smiles to many faces, particularly those experiencing such activities for the first time.

Student participants express the importance of reaching out and sharing their feelings with others. 

"You can also go to others and let them know how you feel," one student shared.

"Somebody might feel the same way that you do that day. So, it's important that you share thoughts with others so that they could be able to help you, you could be able to help them," added senior Sophia Levasseur.

Another student reflects on the courage it takes to open up about one's feelings. 

"It takes a bunch of courage to really express yourself and talk to someone else about what you're feeling or what you're going through," shared student Jacari Collins.

For Jefferson, who is also a college professor, he couldn't ask for more than that.

 "So I'm seeing the kids experience joy and love and they're feeling the embrace of the community," he shared. "And so when I see them happy, it makes me happy when I see them getting better, it makes me feel better and it makes our community better," he said.

For more info on Barbershop Speaks, head over to their Instagram or website.

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