OAKWOOD, Ohio (WDTN) — After receiving grant money from the Montgomery County Prevention Coalition, the Oakwood Schools Visible and Resilient group has created something special. Students now have a space to enjoy, something they say has become crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After winning last year’s grant funds, now they’re getting their hands dirty and creating something to benefit the student body.

“We all have had a tough time in high school and middle school, it’s everything we want to put into the world, kindness and happiness,” said 11th-grade student Charli Kulka.

Kulka said her life has completely changed ever since joining the Oakwood Visible and Resilient group, and she believes many more students could benefit.

“So many students are having a hard time especially with the pandemic everything is messed up, we’re struggling with our mental health, we’re struggling in school, we’re struggling with family, we have so much going on and it’s overwhelming,” said Kulka.

The group won the Montgomery County Prevention Coalition’s Youth Leadership in Prevention Grant last year. Now, Club Advisor Amy Ostdiek said they chose to make a metamorphosis garden for all Oakwood students to enjoy.

“Seeing kids connect is one of the best things ever, making sure people feel seen, included and loved, that’s the goal of the group,” said Amy Ostdiek.

The group has grown since 2012. Now, up to 50 Oakwood students regularly call visible and resilient meetings their home away from home. The club meets every Friday during lunch period.

“We just want everyone to remember they belong, you do have a place and you are loved,” said Oakwood student Kip Ostdiek.

Funded by the Montgomery County ADAMHS Board, Youth Leadership in Prevention Programs are designed to promote mental wellness, but also decrease drug and alcohol usage among middle and high school students.