Students with the Near North District School Board have been dropping by the board’s wellness hubs in Burk’s Falls, North Bay and Parry Sound during the summer.
The hubs are staffed with child development counselors and educational assistants who engage the students in fun activities but also give them tips on how to cope with stress.
Lana St. Louis is the school board’s acting mental health lead with the program and she says the students build stress management skills by engaging in fun activities.
St. Louis says the students are also taught life skills like how to make easy and healthy meals and snacks at home.
At Land of Lakes Public School in Burk’s Falls, the wellness hub there is equipped with a sensory room that includes soft chairs, mats, soft lighting, a large swing and fidget toys which are all designed to help with stress management.
St. Louis says the wellness hubs allow students to meet up with their peers outside the school year as well as make new friends and become more involved with social skills with the help of a trained counsellor.
The students can drop by the wellness hubs any time of day and stay for as long as they like.
But what St. Louis has found is many of the students stay the entire day.
Students who are under 12 years old need a consent form signed by their parents.
This is the second summer the school board is operating the wellness hubs.
For those who took in activities last summer, St. Louis notes that staff were able to make connections with these students that then continued into the school year.
The wellness hubs will run until Aug. 18.
The Burk’s Falls hub operates Mondays to Fridays at Land of Lakes Public School on 92 Ontario Street from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to students aged 10 to 18.
Contact Dorothy.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In North Bay, the wellness hub operates out of OUTLoud at 123 Delaware Ave., from Tuesdays to Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is geared towards 10- to 18-year-olds.
Email email@example.com for more information.
The Parry Sound hub can be found at The Drop on 80 James St.
It’s open Tuesdays to Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and is for 12- to 18-year-olds.
The contact person here is firstname.lastname@example.org and she can provide additional information.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget