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Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz

A podcast about positive things happening in and around Washington County, Wisconsin

Youth Impact Club w/Zach Church, Haley Jo Hubert, Jackie Schmoldt, & Melissa Hoogester

15MWF - Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz podcast cover art for Season 3, Episode 36 titled ‘WBHS Youth Impact Club.’ The background includes names of various locations within Washington County, emphasizing the local focus of the podcast. A photo of four individuals, two adults and two teenagers, standing together and smiling is placed in the center.

This week, I get the chance to spotlight the incredible work of the Youth Impact Club at West Bend High Schools. I had the pleasure of meeting this inspiring group at the Volunteer Center of Washington County’s Champions of Change event, and their dedication to mental health awareness and suicide prevention truly moved me. Join me as I sit down with Zach Church, Haley Jo Hubert, Melissa Hoogester, and Jackie Schmoldt to discuss their personal journeys, the club’s mission, and the impactful initiatives they’ve spearheaded. From their annual 5K Butterfly Run Walk to community outreach programs, this episode is a testament to the power of youth activism and the importance of mental wellness.

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  • Transcript
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    [00:00:00] Fuzz Martin: Well, well, well, happy Tuesday, or whatever day you’re listening. Thank you for tuning into Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. My name is Fuzz Martin, and you are you, thank you for tuning in. A few weeks ago, I emceed the Volunteer Center of Washington County’s annual Champions of Change event at the Prairie Center at West Bend Insurance Company.

    It was a great event, at a great location, and we got to see a lot of good in the community. And, I was completely impressed by a group from the West Bend High Schools called the Youth Impact Club. The Youth Impact Club exists to help raise awareness and prevent suicide amongst high school students. It’s a very important subject.

    And they’re here to join me today. With that, here are Fifteen Minutes on the Youth Impact Club, with Zach Church, Haley Jo Hubert, Melissa Hoogester, and Jackie Schmoldt. Right here on Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.

    Alright, thank you for joining me, everybody. Can you please start by first introducing yourselves and share a little bit about what inspired you to join the Youth Impact Club at West Bend High School. We’ll start with you, Zach.

    [00:01:27] Zach Church: Alright, so I’m Zach Church, I’ve been involved with Youth Impact Club for all four years of high school.

    I’m the current president, we’ll be passing that on to Haley Jo next year. And I guess what inspired me to start working with the Youth Impact Club is just my family’s like, personal history with mental health awareness and things like that. Unfortunately, a few years back, I lost a family member to suicide and that set my whole family on a path of spreading awareness about mental illness and making it a talkable topic and breaking the stigma surrounding it and things like that.

    And throughout the club, I’ve been able to help so many other people and I’m so thankful for that.

    [00:02:01] Fuzz Martin: Great. Haley Jo, hello.

    [00:02:03] Haley Jo Hubert: Hello, I’m Haley Jo Hubert. I Joined Youth Impact Club just last year after my friend Willow Prost, hi Willow, introduced me to it as a way to start spreading about mental health and mental awareness.

    I am, as Zach stated, currently the president, the president of next year. And I joined Youth Impact Club again because Willow suggested it to me, but also because I struggle a lot with And I also survive a lot through my mental illness and mental health. I have ADHD, don’t know if you can hear the fidget toys, but I do have ADHD and anxiety and mental wellness is something that has just helped me navigate my entire life.

    And I feel like it’s, it’s something that everybody needs to know about that doesn’t need to be this only like, only like one political party or something can have mental wellness. Everybody should know how their brain works.

    [00:02:55] Fuzz Martin: Very good. Thank you. Nice to have you in the studio today. And you, Melissa.

    [00:03:01] Melissa Hoogester: Hi, I’m Melissa Hoogester.

    I became interested, primarily after going to one of the classes that Jackie Schmoldt had. She was doing a QPR training for just making students and others aware of the stress and the mental health and how to recognize suicide in others and just kind of felt a pull to want to really, help students in the school.

    [00:03:21] Fuzz Martin: Very good. And Jackie.

    [00:03:23] Jackie Schmoldt: Hi, I’m Jackie Schmoldt. I actually helped get this club started back in 2019. My son, who was a junior at West Bend West High School, died by suicide and I just felt moved to do something to reach out and help kids and kind of leave a positive legacy in the wake of something very, very tragic.

    So, I’ve been just amazed at what the students are willing to do to help out the club and to promote mental wellness and especially to prevent suicide. I wanna add that we have not lost a student to suicide in West Bend for five years since the club’s inception.

    [00:04:04] Fuzz Martin: That’s great. And I, I have to say that I was introduced to your club at the Champions of Change event from the volunteer center in Washington County, and I was completely moved by, one just the positivity of, of the, the whole group and the eloquence of how well you all speak on this subject and how positive and, uplifting it is. And I think just that it would, like, I have goosebumps thinking of it. But it’s, you’re, you’re all very well spoken and very, heartfelt when you speak about it. And I, I really appreciate that. So I know it’s kind of obvious from this conversation, but can you kind of talk about that primary mission of the Youth Impact Club and how do you work toward achieving that within the West Bend schools?

    [00:04:50] Zach Church: Uh, yeah, sure. As stated previously, the Youth Impact Club primarily focuses on mental health awareness and suicide prevention, not only within the school, but also within the greater community as well. We do this through a lot of community outreach programs and events.

    Our big one every year is the, 5K Butterfly Run Walk. We host it every September on the first Sunday. Been doing it every year for the last ten years, I believe, this year. And, it’s a huge fundraiser. We get a lot of community partners involved. And we host a big RunWalk event and it just gets larger and larger every year and then the funds from that go directly back into the community through all the other events we host as well.

    Some of the other events that we hosted this year was something called the Day of Hope where we catered in some food and we had people in at the high school and then we had a speaker talk about his struggles and his wife’s struggles with mental illness. And then we also did a community health fair at the school recently where we had multiple vendors and businesses and companies all come in and then they all set up booths in our school’s gymnasium and they all got to teach the students a little bit about what they do as a business and then further increase community outreach and things like that.

    [00:06:02] Fuzz Martin: Excellent. So, I’ve heard the term a number of times, QPR, and how the Youth Impact Club has trained more than 150 students in QPR. Can you explain what QPR stands for? And how that helps in suicide prevention.

    [00:06:20] Haley Jo Hubert: Now, I just like to describe QPR as CPR for suicide because that’s what it is. It’s saving people from a time in which their life really is in danger.

    CPR, it’s easy to tell when somebody needs it because they’re gasping for air. But QPR, it’s important to get that training because it can be harder to know. But it is just as important. I don’t quite remember what the acronym stands for. I’ve got it.

    [00:06:44] Zach Church: Um, it’s, uh, Question, Persuade, Refer. Okay. Haley, do you want to continue or do you want me to cut you off?

    Yes, and

    [00:06:51] Haley Jo Hubert: again, it’s, no, no, it’s fine. I was expecting Mrs. Schmoldt to pop in. Um, yes, we have trained over 150 people. That is due in large part to Zach at the beginning of his term as president. He said that he wanted to expand QPR training and we’ve done that a lot. I myself am QPR trained, and it’s honestly a very easy process.

    We just went in for four of Mrs. Schmoldt’s resource periods, but the training, again, it can really save lives. And as Mrs. Schmoldt said before, there hasn’t been a single suicide here, so it really does have an effect on West Bend.

    [00:07:24] Fuzz Martin: Can you talk a little bit about the training process? What is the training process for QPR look like, and what are some of those takeaways from that.

    [00:07:33] Jackie Schmoldt: Okay. I’d be happy to do that. I’m the primary trainer of QPR, for our staff and our students. And it’s, it really, you have to get trained through the QPR Institute. It’s not overly complicated, but as Haley said, it’s super important because otherwise you might walk by someone and there’s an obvious sign, but you don’t know it’s a sign.

    So the first thing we do is we talk about suicide statistics. We talk about all the different warning signs, both subtle and sometimes not so subtle. And then we train them, What to do when they see those signs, how to ask the question, and you really have to ask the suicide question. Are you feeling suicidal?

    It doesn’t plant the seed of suicide. If someone’s suicidal, they already are. They’re just going to be relieved that someone has noticed that they’re in so much pain. And then, once you ask the question, you try to get them, persuade them, there’s the P for the QPR, to, go get help and we give all the kids and the staff, numbers and the 988 is obviously the really easy number to remember.

    But we also have a wide variety of resources in our community. a little shout out here for NAMI. They also do QPR training and, NAMI is our local nonprofit that does, a lot for mental health, teaching people how to live successfully with mental illness, teaching families how to deal with a child or a spouse or a relative.

    So, we partner with them in a lot of cases.

    [00:09:11] Fuzz Martin: As part of the Youth Impact Club, the, you know, obviously, there’s an important cause to both you as students and as educators. How do you balance this advocacy work with also your school work and your life outside of school? Like, how does this impact your school life and your personal life?

    [00:09:31] Haley Jo Hubert: Honestly, that is a very good question, and to be completely honest with you, it, if it weren’t, I take on a lot as a student, especially since right now I’m taking four AP classes, thankfully exams just finished up, hallelujah. But it’s because of what I’m learning in the Youth Impact Club that helps me get through all that stress.

    And just at the fair that we had the other day with Youth Impact, not the other day, it was a couple months ago, with Youth Impact Club and Peers for Peers also helped a lot on that. It was mostly their event. And something that I got there was this card that stated a good breathing activity.

    Breathing in for four, holding for four, breathing out for six, and breathing out for six. And it’s just that alone that got me through AP exams, through the amount of stress that I’ve been having with studying, through other stressful events in my life. So really the way that I would answer that question is that youth impact club advocacy, it’s just how you live.

    You need to live as a mental wellness advocate and continually take care of your mental health.

    [00:10:38] Zach Church: Balancing everything, it’s manageable. It’s a, it’s a little difficult for me, but I’m just, I have so many other conflicts and things outside of school that I’m all juggling at the same time.

    We host, a big large group meeting with all of our members, once a month. And then we also hold like smaller meetings for different event planning committees. And, as president, there’s a lot there to kind of keep track of, and I definitely wouldn’t have been able to get everything done without the help of Ms. Schmoldt and Ms. Hoogester, great advisors. And, it’s really, they’re the reason that the club is, I mean, Ms. Schmoldt is the reason the club really got off its feet, and then Mrs. Schmoldt have both been able to really create something amazing, and they do a ton of work, even though, Haley and I have the pre president position, there’s still so much that they do, but there’s still a lot of planning and things that go into it, I tried to focus a lot, as Haley mentioned previously, on getting the larger, club population QPR certified, Previously it was just the like main exec board.

    And then I also wanted to focus a lot on self-care. Mm-Hmm. this year. So like kind of taking some time out of our monthly meetings to do little lessons on like, here’s some ways that you can manage stress and help yourself as well as helping other people. And I guess through all of those lessons. Haley kind of mentioned it previously is that we’re not only helping other people, we’re also really helping ourselves as well to navigate everything.

    But I’m also able to, use what I’ve learned and what I’ve taught to help other people and help myself outside of school and just in the greater community and my family and things like that. And it’s just been really great all around where, you know, doing things for Youth Impact Club, it doesn’t feel like work.

    It’s just This is what needs to be done. It’s something that’s great. It’s something that helps. And it’s always so, so relieving to see, something that we’ve planned go off without a hitch. Like all of our events are insanely successful and it’s so great to see.

    [00:12:36] Fuzz Martin: Well, speaking of that, you have the 10th anniversary of the 10th annual, 5K Butterfly Run Walk, which you’d spoke about earlier.

    What, when is that coming up?

    [00:12:45] Jackie Schmoldt: That event is on September 15th. Okay. Up at the high school by the football stadium. It’s going to be amazing this year. We have the choir singing a Dear Evan Hansen song, we’ve got the dance team cheering on the runners and walkers, we’ve got two, guest speakers who are going to talk about navigating life with a mental illness.

    And there’s food and prizes and it’s just a really wonderful event.

    [00:13:15] Fuzz Martin: Awesome, excellent. And how can people get signed up for that event? Or, or when will there be more information and where can they find it?

    [00:13:22] Haley Jo Hubert: We are currently working on providing more information but as of right now, I believe we do have a website up by Mason Bemis, the vice president, or incoming, coming in vice president.

    He is, he’s He and I, especially him, we’ve done so much work and it’s honestly great to see it all come together. And he currently has a website going up right now that has all the sign up information that you can get there.

    [00:13:46] Fuzz Martin: Perfect.

    [00:13:47] Jackie Schmoldt: It’s actually, a website that we use called Run Sign Up. Okay. And you can search for the Youth Impact Club 5K Butterfly Run Walk.

    The, link is active now. The earliest we’ve ever gotten it done.

    [00:13:59] Fuzz Martin: Excellent. Good work. So. Alright, so that’s coming up September 15th, and I’ll post the link to that in the show notes of this episode. Looking forward, Haley Jo, you’re coming in as the president elect. What are some goals or projects for the Youth Impact Club that you hope to achieve in the near future?

    [00:14:18] Haley Jo Hubert: One really shocking thing that I learned in QPR training is that the demographic with the, or age demographic with the highest amount of suicides is actually the elderly population. Right now, mental health, it’s definitely seen as more of a teen or younger adult eye action. But the fact is that especially with older generations having such stigma, especially since destigmatization is only a newer event, It is really important to be able to get it past the high school doors and into the real world.

    Zach has done an amazing job with helping create the club population into something very powerful, and I want to take what he has done and spread that beyond our doors, have really big impacts on our community. Perhaps bringing together the older populations and the younger populations so that we can start getting to the heart of the issue that goes down in West Bend.

    I feel like, I know, I know the Youth Impact Club has a lot of potential that we can go far beyond what any high school club has done before, and I would love to see that happen this year.

    [00:15:23] Fuzz Martin: That’s excellent, that’s, that’s great to hear, and, and, again, very uplifting, and, and how can community members support or get involved with the Youth Impact Club if they, if they hear this and want to help make a difference?

    [00:15:39] Zach Church: With the 5k, we accept donations, I believe through the RunSignUp website, but, I know I’ve had a couple of people reach out to me, and they say, Hey, I would like to donate some money to the club, how can I do that? And then that just goes straight through the school. But there, there are numerous ways, participating in the events that, we host is a great way of getting involved, as well as just donating money to the club.

    5k is a huge, great opportunity to do that. We usually host a raffle as part of that event as well, and all of those proceeds will go to the club and things like that. And Ms. Schmoldt, are we doing the Teams system this year for the 5K?

    [00:16:15] Jackie Schmoldt: Yes, we have created an opportunity for other non profits to sign up as a team.

    And if they get at least 10 members, we’re gonna, give back to them 50 percent of the registrations for their club.

    [00:16:30] Fuzz Martin: Oh, great. Excellent. Good way for a non profit to help make some donations for their own club. Very good. Well, Zach, Haley, Jo, Mrs. Hoogester, and, Ms. Schmoldt, thank you all for coming in.

    The Youth Impact Club at West Bend High School is obviously very powerful and, , Very needed organization. And I appreciate all that you’re doing for the students and the community. Thank you for coming in today. Thank

    [00:16:55] Zach Church: you so much for having us.

    [00:16:56] Haley Jo Hubert: Thank you very much. Thank you.

    [00:16:58] Fuzz Martin: Thank you again to Zach Church, Haley Jo Hubert, Melissa Hoogester, and Jackie Schmoldt from the West Bend High School’s Youth Impact Club.

    For joining me on this week’s episode of Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz. As always, if you ever have an idea for the show, please let me know. You can email me [email protected]. That’s fifteen spelled out with fuzz at gmail. com. Or you can send in a form at fuzz. cc slash guest. That is fuzz. cc slash guest. That said, this is going to be the last episode for a few weeks.

    I’m going to take a little break for Memorial day, and then maybe I’ll A couple of weeks after that, since the kids are going to be getting done with school, my wife’s a teacher. She’ll be done with school and it’s a free show and a free country. I can do that. I can do that. So thank you for listening.

    Hit the subscribe or follow button in your favorite podcast player. Then you’ll know when the next episode of Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz is live. And until then, thank you for listening to Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz.

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