BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – A coalition of the nation’s leading experts declared a mental health crisis among children a national emergency in 2021. A new partnership in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month is focusing on helping kids who have suffered trauma.

“Chip in for Children’s Mental Health” kicked off Monday honoring a new partnership between Covelli Enterprises and Akron Children’s Hospital at the Panera Bread location on South Avenue in Boardman.

Proceeds from Panera Bread’s famous Chocolate Chipper cookies will benefit Akron Children’s School Health Services Program.

The funds raised will go toward a school-based social and emotional learning coach to assist students that have experienced traumatic events affecting mental and behavioral health. The new coach will serve Akron Children’s local school partners in Trumbull, Mahoning, Stark and Summit counties.

“It’s allowing us to expand our network of providers, particularly in the school districts,” said Chris Gessner, CEO and president of Akron Children’s Hospital. “We’re hoping to catch these problems early before they exacerbate.”

“It’s such a huge issue,” said the owner and operator of Covelli Enterprises, Sam Covelli. “We are just so happy to be involved with Akron Children’s Hospital and having a partnership for the future of mental health.”

“The contribution from Panera is really going to help us get to the in-depth work we want to get to in the Mahoning Valley,” said Missy McClain, who serves as the community education program coordinator for school health services at Akron Children’s. “It’s about helping teachers create environments and help them better understand what might be going on and moving behaviors from students from Pre-K through twelfth grade.”

Panera’s Chocolate Chipper cookies are sold at 23 Mahoning Valley, Akron, and Canton bakery-cafes from May 8-21. For more information visit