The Wellness Center Story
The shuttering of the American education system severed students from more than just classrooms, friends and extracurricular activities. It has also cut off an estimated 55 million children and teenagers from school staff members whose open doors and compassionate advice helped them build self-esteem, navigate the pressures of adolescence and cope with trauma. Mental health experts worry about the psychological toll on a younger generation that was already experiencing soaring rates of depression, anxiety and suicide before the pandemic. The current youth mental health crisis is also an opportunity for schools to implement proactive strategies to reduce risks and build resilience to help young people learn to overcome challenges and thrive.
In late 2020, Principal Miller and PTSA put together a wishlist for the funds raised by PTSA that year. Principal Miller wanted us to support projects that would increase student engagement, foster a positive school culture and support the mental health and wellness needs of our students. Although PTSA’s fundraising levels have been less since the pandemic, there was enough to allott $2,500 for an on-campus Wellness Center.
With this in mind, PTSA established a new committee for Mental Health & Wellness, chaired by Westmont parent and PTSA Board Member, Allie Hansen. PTSA also prioritized funding of mental health and wellness projects at Westmont.
PTSA set out to design a space with a calming restorative aesthetic using the principles of Biophilic Design. With months of planning and countless hours of work by our PTSA volunteers, an unused section of the library was transformed into a warm and inviting space.
The Westmont Wellness Center officially opens on March 21, 2022. This new wellness center is a space where students can come during the school day to reduce stress, practice healthy self-care and coping skills and access mental health resources. This program will extend existing mental health services to create an easily accessible safe space to support healthy emotional development, prevention and early intervention.
Thank you to Principal Miller, Assistant Principal Halas and Mr. Mock for working with PTSA on this project. A very special thank you to the PTSA Mental Health & Wellness Committee: Allie Hansen, Priya Bhogaonker, Anna-Maria White and Jennifer Didone who worked diligently to help accomplish this vision and create a beautiful space for our students.
Thank you to the CUHSD Education Foundation for their generous donation of $5,000 to the Wellness Center. This donation will allow us to provide additional materials and mental health & wellness programs in the center.
Thank you to Rhonda Ross of R. Welsh & Company for donating the wonderful area rugs and Liony Azali of Gardeneur.com for donating the beautiful indoor plants for our wellness center.
Thank you to all the Westmont Families who donated to PTSA that provided the funding to create this space. We are truly grateful to our Westmont community for their very generous donations.