Project Aware

Early Intervention Screener (EIS) Questions:

K-4 Questions

5-12 Questions

Did You Know?


83% of Americans say it’s easier to open up if someone else goes first.

Speak up & Start the conversation.

Raise Awareness

Oklahoma ranks 3rd in the nation for rates of any Mental Illness at 22.4%. 

Oklahoma is 2nd in the nation at 11.9%  for any Substance Abuse Disorders

About Project AWARE

What is Project AWARE?

Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) is a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) funded initiative focused on the mental health of youth in schools. 

What is our purpose?

Project AWARE's purpose is to promote youth mental health awareness among schools and communities and improve connections to services for school-age youth through: 

  • Increased awareness of mental health issues among school-age youth.

  • Training educators and other youth-serving adults to detect and respond to mental health issues.

  • Connect children, youth, and families who may experience behavioral health issues with appropriate services.

What have we accomplished so far?

  • Calming Rooms at each school site in the district. These calming rooms are allocated for the overstimulated student who may require an area to decompress and recenter before resuming class instruction. 

  • Private rooms for counseling with our trained staff of mental health professionals

  • SPARCS (Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress) group sessions in the secondary setting. These sessions focus on students who may face difficulties with regulating emotions, maintaining healthy relationships, processing new information, and managing other symptoms of chronic trauma and stress.

  • Providing vast resources to students, educators, and administration on how to best serve our youth’s overall mental health. 

  • Facilitating community events that bring awareness to mental health assistance for our youth in southwest Oklahoma. 

Upcoming Events


Emergency Hotline Numbers


988 Info

The 988 Mental Health Lifeline operates 24/7 and offers services for mental health crisis. Operators are licensed and certified health crisis specialists who answer calls, connect to and dispatch local services and mobile crisis teams.

Senate Bill 1307 has been approved to provide the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number on student identification cards.School districts and charter schools are now required to print the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 988 on student ID cards for 7th graders and up.

Mental Health Safety Planning

We have safety plans in the event of a fire, tornado, inclement weather so why not create a Mental Health Safety Plan?


A mental health safety plan can help families formulate coping strategies for situations that cause children and teens increased stress and anxiety, as well as identify potential red flags that signal a need to seek professional help.

Project Aware Team


Danna Bross

Project AWARE Manager

Danna Bross is the Project AWARE Manager. She has been working for Lawton Public Schools since 1993 as an English teacher, Activities Director and high school counselor. Bross majored in English/Psychology and has M.Ed in counseling. I enjoy working with all ages of students and feel fortunate to have a job that allows me to do this. Project AWARE is a platform that provides mental services to our students. This initiative is vital to addressing the needs of our students’ mental health to ensure success in their lives and education.


Kayla Johnson


Kayla Johnson has a passion to help and serve others. Johnson is from Lawton, Oklahoma. She received her bachelor's degree at Oklahoma Baptist University in Psychology pre-Counseling with a minor in education and her masters degree from Cameron University in Masters Sciences Behavioral Sciences with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. She enjoys getting to know others, learning new things, and helping others during trying times. It is important for Johnson that people have a way to express their feelings in a safe environment to where they feel truly heard. Johnson loves being able to give back to the community that she grew up in and share different ways to help others truly see that they can overcome many obstacles thrown their way.


Laura Johnson


Laura Johnson is a Licensed Master Social Worker. Johnson is working towards her clinical license (LCSW), so she is currently under supervision. Johnson has been in the field of social work for the past 16 years working with children and families. Her undergraduate degree is in Psychology. This is her second year working with Project AWARE. She loves building relationships with students and providing them with support.


Cassie Jones


Cassie Jones is a Licenced Marriage and Family Therapist Candidate working with Project AWARE. This is Jones' 19th year with Lawton Public Schools. She was a Special Education Teacher working in a self-contained class for students with Emotional Disturbance for 12 years, then moved to Central Middle School as a Co- Teacher for 2 years, she worked as a School Counselor at Eisenhower Elementary for 3 years while going back to school to get her Masters in Behavioral Sciences. Last year, she was an IEP Facilitator while fulfilling her Practicum requirements. Jones is thrilled to put her new degree to work as a Mental Health Professional with Project AWARE. She loves pairing her experience as an educator with her background in mental health, and enjoys seeing students learn and make progress on their personal goals.


Carmela Rendina


Carmela Rendina is a licensed clinical social worker (or licensed mental health professional) with Lawton Public Schools Project AWARE. Rendina received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Cameron University in Elementary Education and holds a current Oklahoma Certification in Elementary Education. Over the years she has worked in DODDS schools while living in Germany, and PreK in Brooklyn, NY and Lawton, OK and worked as a Teacher Assistant and teacher with LPS in the early to mid 1990’s. Her other work experiences were with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Rendina received a scholarship from OKDHS to attend The University of Oklahoma completing her Masters Degree in Social Work. She then moved on to a Psychiatric Hospital as a Therapist for about 10 years before coming back to LPS in 2022.


Victoria Zelbst


Victoria Zelbst is a military-child born and raised in southwest Oklahoma. She graduated from Lawton High School and she attended the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor's degree in History of Science. Upon relocating to Lawton, she fell in love with the classroom setting and she became certified in elementary education. Victoria taught for seven years in the classroom and inevitably, her students inspired her to finish her M.Ed. in Reading at Cameron University. She now serves on the Project AWARE team as the MTSS Specialist.