When Bowling Green Junior High School students seek the support they need to feel career ready – or even to just get through a tough day at school – there’s one thing standing in their way.

BGJHS students are raising money to remodel and relocate their school’s counseling center, which is located in the principal’s office. Because of that, students are sometimes wary about approaching the front office for counseling.

“It’s just not a comfortable environment,” said Nathan Lee, a loan officer with US Bank, who is working with the group as the president of this year’s Leadership Bowling Green class through the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce.

Each year, the program seeks out local projects to support. This year’s participants include local business and nonprofit leaders, manufacturers and Western Kentucky University representatives. So far, the group has visited schools and local farms in an effort to learn more about Bowling Green and Warren County.

After pitching their idea to the Leadership Bowling Green class through a competitive process, Lee said the group learned about the students’ concerns regarding the counseling office.

To help change that, Donatos Pizza is donating 10 percent of sales Monday directly to the BGJHS project. All customers have to do is mention they’d like to support the project with their purchase, Lee said, describing it as an “easy way for individuals to come out and support this project.”

Proceeds from the sales will go toward relocating the school’s counseling center to a bigger space in the middle of the school. The space includes a large classroom with two smaller rooms, Lee said.

The two smaller rooms are for a safe space for one-on-one mental health support, with one room designed more like a lounge with a couch and calming atmosphere. The other room will be a place for students to relax, Lee said.

The larger classroom will provide space for the project’s other goal: career counseling.

“The big thing is helping students become career ready for the workforce,” he said, adding that the project aligns with the chamber’s goal to help kids graduate ready for the workforce and a career they love.

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

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Education reporter. Covers education and related issues, focusing primarily on the Bowling Green and Warren County public school districts and Western Kentucky University.

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