By ALEX VERDUZCO
The Wildcat Sanctuary located in F-101/106 is now open to all Redlands East Valley high school students as of April 5. This resource offers a calm space for students to take a break from school stressors and partake in creative activities such as coloring, puzzle building, and even a quiet place to sit down and relax.
REV junior, Amanda Gold, says, “I’m actually really excited about this. It feels like it’s going to be a safe space to recuperate and take a breather.”
With it, are groups that will be organized with the intention of benefitting students such as the Stress Management Group and the RestorARTive Art Therapy group. The Stress Management Group is set to meet during lunchtime on the following Fridays: April 14, 21, 28, and lastly, May 12. The Art Therapy group is still collecting information on what time would work best for students to meet such as in-person after school, virtual sessions, and more through the Google Form.
Shana Delmonico, Redlands East Valley counselor explains, “Redlands Unified School District recognizes and hears our students and staff when they express that they are having feelings of anxiety and stress over social and emotional issues. It is important here at REV that we acknowledge that these feelings are valid and respond by working toward students/staff having access to the Wildcat Sanctuary.”
As time goes on, it is expected that more groups will form depending on the student feedback and needs expressed to the counselors.
Ian Catren, a REV junior adds, “It’s an admirable concept and it’s nice to see the school trying to address growing stress amongst the students.”
Students are welcome to visit the Sanctuary Monday through Friday except during the fifth period and not during the second period on Tuesdays.
Delmonico says, “The goal is providing resources for students/staff about self-care, self-awareness, social anxiety, and interactions, offering opportunities to deal or cope with stress through providing space for a mental time out, calming space for students in distress, interactive lessons (empowerment/educational), referrals, and resources.”
Advanced Placement English Teacher at REV, Mr. Sean Molloy shares, “The Wildcat Sanctuary is a brilliant idea from our counselors here at REV. Too long have students come to school in need of real help with their mental health. We need to remove any stigmas around mental health and remember that it is perfectly ok for anyone to say, “I’m not okay.” Taking this first step into the Sanctuary might be exactly what we all need in doing that. Please remember to take care of yourselves!”
“Wellness centers can significantly reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health services, as well as increase attendance and the likelihood of graduation for our students,” says Delmonico.
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