Mollie Marti brings THRIVE Resilience Model to Waukon schools

The Alice Hermeier Foundation, a fund held by the Allamakee County Community Foundation, has partnered with County Social Services to support the mental health needs of students by bringing the THRIVE Resilience Model to Waukon schools.  

Mollie Marti, a Waukon native, has returned to her hometown to help implement the project. Marti founded and directs the National Resilience Institute (NRI), a nonprofit organization that grew out of a community resiliency project she started in Mount Vernon after the tragic loss of young lives to suicide. 

THRIVE (Trusted relationships, High expectations, Resilience skills, Involvement, Vision and Enrichment) is a framework that uses research to highlight the most effective ways to create an environment in which all can thrive. The model has been used in communities, schools, the military, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, crisis response, human services and corporations. Marti has presented the THRIVE Model nationally and internationally.

“We all have the right to thrive. We want everyone to be supported in claiming and expressing this right,” said Marti. The goal of the program is that each community member feels safe, connects with others and understands that they matter. THRIVE participants identify their strengths and are invited make unique contributions in ways that give their lives meaning. Participants learn to lift others up along the way. 

“The science of resilience is clear that building strength is not a solo activity,” she added. “We thrive together.”

Waukon has experienced multiple traumatic losses of students to suicide. By implementing the THRIVE Model, educators can build a school culture that is supportive in the face of these tragedies and also helps prevent them in the future. 

NRI will provide a THRIVE workshop, professional development sessions, and an annual membership in its THRIVE School Education & Support program, which includes monthly virtual education, resources, and support. The organization and faculty are donating all training and travel.

“I think our ongoing support program is a huge part of why the THRIVE work has been successful in schools. It provides an opportunity for a school community to come together to use different skills, resources and positions of influence to create a more resilient school culture,” said Kristen Hayes, THRIVE Coordinator. “It is not one person that is responsible for creating a THRIVE environment, but an expanding team that is committed to the success and well-being of all of the individuals in the building or campus.” 

“We provide practical applications, show people how to integrate the framework into what they are already doing, and offer ongoing support toward creating a culture of thriving,” said Marti.

She looks forward to making an impact in the Waukon area. “I love working in my home state to strengthen local communities,” she said. “Being able to do this work in my hometown, alongside family and familiar faces from my childhood, is really special.”