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Santa Monica High School’s Thrive Center Competes for Prize

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica

By Lookout Staff

October 28, 2015 -- The Thrive Center at Samohi is competing for a $100,000 prize that would help it to better tackle mental health issues increasingly plaguing Santa Monica teens, according to local officials.

City and School District officials are seeking the community’s support by asking residents to cast online ballots for the center in this year’s LA2050 contest, which will choose ten winners.

The prize would help the center implement its vision by helping to fund “a next generation holistic approach needed to effectively address the range of challenges faced by teens in our community, officials said.

A recent California Healthy Kids Survey found that 26 percent of middle and high school youth reported feelings of depression, more than half of 11th graders reported substance or alcohol use and 22 percent reported “binge drinking,” District officials said.

“Students today are exposed to many things and many are under stress,” said School District Superintendent Sandy Lyon. “It is clear that we need to provide more education about the effects of substance and alcohol use as well as information on healthy choices and lifestyles.”

“Embedded wellness services in our schools will help us do that more effectively,” Lyon said. “The Thrive Center at Samohi will be a revolutionary step toward effectively dealing with this issue.”

In addition to substance abuse issues, a study by the UCLA Center for Policy & Research found that more than 16 percent of youth in LA County suffer from emotional and mental health problems, with 32 percent of middle and high school students reporting depressive feelings and nearly 20 percent experiencing suicidal thoughts.

“In our own backyard, we have found shockingly high rates of substance abuse, depression, social isolation, and thoughts of suicide among Santa Monica high school students that exceed regional averages,” officials wrote in the center’s application for the prize.

The Thrive Center is a “key strategy” in Santa Monica’s Cradle to Career, a collaboration among the City, School District, Santa Monica College and direct service providers to “develop and implement coordinated strategies to help children and families in Santa Monica thrive,” officials said.

“We have a long, dedicated track record when it comes to programs and resources that improve the health and wellbeing of our residents,” said Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown. “Our youth are our most precious resource. Doing everything we can to help them thrive should be a top priority.”

Public voting is open until noon on Tuesday, November 3. For more information visit

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