School board’s wellness hubs beat stress with fun

·2 min read

The Near North District School Board (NNDSB) is running three wellness hubs this summer in North Bay, Parry Sound, and Burk’s Falls. Each hub runs until August 18th and provide “places where students can connect in person, engage in fun activities, and learn tips to cope with stress,” the NNDSB explained in a recent release.

Child development counsellors and educational assistants will be at the wellness hubs, and will “provide support and tools for physical, mental, emotional and social well-being.” For example, skills to help with stress management are built into fun activities to help youth absorb the lessons.

The students are encouraged to write journals, paint, put together meals and snacks, and participate in physical activities. At the Burk’s Falls hub, the students also have access to the “sensory room” located at Land of Lakes Public School. This room is “outfitted with soft chairs, mats, soft lighting, a large swing, and fidget toys,” which “promote stress management,” the NNDSB mentioned.

Lana St. Louis is the board’s acting mental health lead, and she noted that the isolating effects of the pandemic has resulted in “social malnutrition” amongst older children and adolescents, which is having negative effects on their mental health.

“The wellness hubs provide an opportunity for students to be with peers, make new friends, and practice social skills with the support of a trained counsellor,” the NNDSB explained.

This is the second year for the wellness hubs, and “the students who attended last year enjoyed the program,” St. Louis said. Youth can drop-in and leave anytime throughout the day, although students under 12 require a signed consent form from a parent.

The North Bay wellness hub is operated at OUTLoud, at 123 Delaware Avenue and is open Tuesday to Thursday from 11:30 to 3 p.m. This hub is for ages 10 to 18, and for more information, email Brianne MacDowell at brianne.macdowell@nearnorthschools.ca.

In Parry Sound, the hub is located at The Drop at 80 James Street. Hours are Tuesdays to Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. Ages 12 to 18 are welcome to stop by. Email Penny Moffat at penny.moffat@nearnorthschools.ca for more information.

The Burk’s Falls wellness hub is held at Land of Lakes Public School at 92 Ontario Street. Youth between 10 and 18 can stop by Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Contact Dorothy Haggart-Davis via email at Dorothy.haggartdavis@nearnorthschools.ca.

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca

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