Healthy Living Program Adopted at Middlebury Academy

AKRON, OH—Middlebury Academy has partnered with Minority Behavior Health Group of Akron to provide their B.L.U.E. program to educate our students about depression and suicide, healthy coping skills, and healthy living through care of the whole self; body, mind, and spirit.


Students show a poster that was made at the end of one of their B.L.U.E. Group sessions. This poster features the children’s hand prints and talks about the meaning of B.L.U.E. and what the students believe they can do, how they can make themselves better, and how they can make each other better.

The target population for B.L.U.E., which stands for Believe, Liberate, Understand, Empower, is 3rd-12th grade children in the Akron area, and the adults in their lives; family, teachers, and friends. B.L.U.E. uses elements of art, music, physical activity, writing, nutrition and all forms of practice to encourage coping and healthy living. Important information and psychoeducation is provided on depression, suicide and emotional wellness to increase insight of participants. The participants are encouraged to share the information and skills learned with their families and community to better the overall environment. Each workshop fosters opportunities for reflecting, sharing, practicing and learning.

Since October 2015, volunteers for The B.L.U.E. Group have been meeting with more than 150 students in grades 3 through 8 at Middlebury Academy three times per week, facilitating workshops to bolster self-esteem or counseling students one-on-one.

“Services like those provided by the B.L.U.E. group are especially beneficial for middle school students, like those at Middlebury,” says Senior Director of Middlebury Academy, Pharon Hranko, “they allow students to build their self-confidence, which in the middle grades is sometimes hard to come by.”

Monique Swain, Intervention Specialist at Middlebury Academy, added, “I have seen a positive change in our middle school students since the B.L.U.E. group started coming on a regular basis. I see a change in their confidence.”

Middlebury_BLUEStudents at Middlebury enjoy their B.L.U.E. sessions because it is a time where they can express their emotions through many different outlets. The counselors that come in from Minority Behavior Health Group of Akron are excited and reach our students in ways that reinforces the self-worth of each student.

“B.L.U.E. Group teaches us confidence because some people don’t feel good about themselves,” says 7th-grade student, Jabreah Harmon, “We did this activity where we wrote our name on a paper and we passed the paper around and wrote good stuff about each other. When we got the papers back there were a lot of good things on there that made me feel really good about myself.”

The B.L.U.E. group volunteers at Middlebury have chosen to focus on building the students’ self confidence, aiming to improve not only each student’s emotional well-being, but to promote high standards of conduct and achievement.

“The volunteers with B.L.U.E. could have chosen any school in Akron and they chose us. We feel very lucky to have such a great community partner,” said Pharon Hranko.

Middlebury_Counselor“The B.L.U.E. Group has [the students] wanting and desiring to do better, says Monique Swain. “B.L.U.E. changes how the kids respond to [the adults]. The student’s respect for each other has changed. Their self-esteem is being effected and they are believing in themselves more.”

The B.L.U.E. volunteers truly understand our students. They live and work in the community and they know how to reach our kids and our families. We are privileged that they have chosen our school to work with so frequently.



Are you looking for a school that prioritizes a nurturing environment that will build a foundation for students’ success in school, at future work, and in life? Visit the Middlebury Academy website to learn more about what we offer or to enroll your student.

Minority Behavior Health Group of Akron consists of Psychologists, Counselors, CPST, and Pastors who are committed to providing culturally appropriate and comprehensive counseling services to individuals and families. To learn more about B.L.U.E  and Prevention Programming Workshops and Groups, please contact Jeniece Brock at or Ciara Dennis at Or call 330.999.0511