Cook Center for Human Connection Awards $100,000 in Matching Grants to 20 Schools to Build ‘Calm Rooms’

Funding from the Utah nonprofit will help schools across the nation create therapeutic spaces for students who need time to regulate their emotions and return to class able to learn

The Cook Center for Human Connection, a nonprofit dedicated to mental health and suicide prevention with schools and families, today announced the 20 rural and urban schools from across the nation that were selected to receive Calm Room Grants. The grant program was launched last year to help schools create an in-school safe space for students to reset when they feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, or frustrated. 

The Cook Center offered matching grants of up to $5,000 per school for up to 25 schools to create a Calm Room in their building. More than 200 schools applied, and those that demonstrated the greatest need and ability to make an immediate impact were selected as grant winners.

The grant awardees selected were:

Woods Elm Fort Smith  AR
Cutter Morning Star School District Cutter Morning Star AR
Baboquivari High/Middle School Baboquivari Unified School District #40 AZ
Hayward High School Hayward Unified School District CA
Savoy Elementary School Washington DC DC
Ft. Clarke Middle School Alachua County FL
Declo Elementary Cassia County Joint School District ID
Highland Park High School Township High School District #113 IL
AVAP- Avoyelles Virtual and Alternative Program Avoyelles Parish School District LA
Genesee Jr/Sr High School Genesee School District MI
Cleveland Elementary Livonia Public Schools MI
Wegienka Elementary School Woodhaven Brownstown Schools MI
Lockwood Elementary School Lockwood School District #26 MT
Ben Franklin Middle School Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda Union School District NY
Pickaway Pathways for Success Pickaway County ESC OH
Norwin Middle School Norwin School District PA
Wallenpaupack Area High School Wallenpaupack Area School District PA
Mansfield Timberview High School Mansfield ISD  TX
Backman Elementary School Salt Lake City School District UT
Bingham High School Jordan School District UT
Salem Junior High School Nebo School District UT
Whittier Elementary School Salt Lake City School District UT
Walden School of Liberal Arts: High School Walden School of Liberal Arts UT
Parley’s Park Elementary Calming Room Park City School District UT
Summit Innovations School Teton County School District WY

“The Cook Center is proud to support schools across the nation that are dealing with the mental health crisis,” said CEO Anne Brown. “As school leaders implement a variety of strategies to address mental health concerns in students of all ages, calm rooms are a powerful, research-backed tool to improve student well-being.” 

A calm room is a supportive, therapeutic environment where students go to focus on self-calming efforts and learn to self-regulate their bodies and their emotions. Calm rooms feature quiet spaces with low-stimulation decor and fixtures, soft furniture and carpet, and other materials that reduce stress and foster positive coping techniques. Research shows that calming spaces can:

  • Reduce negative student behaviors;
  • Create stronger relationships between staff and students;
  • Boost student learning; 
  • Improve students’ self-esteem; and
  • Reduce stress on students and staff.

Through the Calm Room Grants, the Cook Center aims to help school communities throughout the United States get the resources they need to boost mental health support and improve student well-being and school culture. The grants require that each school have a plan to open a new safe space in their school building within the 2022-23 school year and have matching funds of $5,000 or more to pay for the installation. Each school will be required to report on the building, completion, and usage of the calm rooms.

For more information about the Cook Center for Human Connection and their Calm Room grant, go to

Cook Center for Human Connection
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