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Minnesota FFA Foundation Announces 'Bend, Don't Break' Program
Minnesota Ag Connection - 11/23/2022

Schools have been in session for almost three months now! Students are getting in the groove of balancing schoolwork with extracurricular activities. Teachers are creating lesson plans and grading students' work. However, at times these tasks may become stressful. Stress can lead to mental health concerns. Research shows that every three-in-ten students struggle with poor mental health. To support this concern, the Minnesota FFA Foundation has partnered with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to promote mental health for Minnesota agricultural education students and teachers.

This initiative will provide FFA chapters funds to conduct mental health wellness within their school and community. The grant process will encourage FFA chapters to address their community's mental health wellness needs, respecting that there is no one way to share a message of awareness and available support to those feeling the effects of stress.

The Bend, Don't Break Mental Health Wellness Program is an important program for supporting our youth. This program ensures that our leaders of tomorrow, students and teachers, are being cared for. Minnesota FFA is taking a stand on mental health.

"We are proud to lend our voice and efforts to the important work of supporting our agricultural community through the Bend Don't Break program. FFA members have long taken an active role in supporting their community. This program aligns with our efforts to support our schools and communities in the important area of rural mental health. The partnership with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is a valuable one that reaches beyond the 40,000 students we serve across Minnesota," shared Val Aarsvold, Executive Director

Funded grant applications may replicate projects and programs that have been done elsewhere in Minnesota and the U.S. or pilot a new approach. Grant requests will be funded up to $2,000 per FFA chapter, with the exact amount depending on the scope of their efforts. The goal is to provide grant funds to more than 20 schools so they can conduct mental health wellness initiatives in their school and community. Additional information on the grant program and a link to the application can be found on our website --

This work is supported by Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Program from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

For more information or questions on the FFA's involvement with the Bend, Don't Break Mental Health Wellness Program, contact Val Aarsvold at 507-259-3586.

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