April 2018 Newsletter

Healthy Schools are Happy Schools

The Safe Passages-funded Family Resource Centers (FRCs) at Ralph J. Bunche Academy and Bridge Academy explored the many aspects of “self-care” and overall health this month.

Bunche Academy held a Wellness Fair before spring break to send students and staff into the vacation feeling centered and relaxed. Rita McKeon, AmeriCorps VISTA and FRC Coordinator, organized various activities to encourage students and staff to explore “self-care,” such as making vision board candles and stress balls, writing supportive letters to themselves, and practicing the art of meditation. When making the stress balls, one student said, “Everyone at Bunche should have one of these! It’s an easy and quick way to let out some stress.”

Another student really connected to the letter-writing activity. This student is entering the military after graduation and wrote a multi-page letter to himself. He asked the supervising teacher, Mr. Williams, to send the letter to his family over the summer so that they can send it to wherever the military takes him. Mr. Williams shares that this student “always has a very calm demeanor, but was very intense about this exercise. Perhaps he realized the seriousness of his decision. I’m glad he was able to feel supported by himself and his school, and that he had this letter-writing activity to provide words of encouragement to his future self.”

Bridge Academy’s Health Fair explored the many health services available in Oakland and Alameda County. Representatives from the Alameda County Public Health Department, Alameda Alliance for Health, La Familia, LifeLong Medical Care, Tzu Chi Foundation, Berkeley Free Clinic, Alameda Health System, and Asian Health Services’ HCH 510 supported the event. They set up booths to show Bridge students, staff, and teachers all of the diverse healthcare services available in the community.

The FRC Coordinator Najwa Abdul-Kabir, another VISTA member, explains that the purpose of the event was to educate and inform, as “Many of the students were previously unaware of the abundance of amazing services in the community that they have access to. I wanted to connect them to these resources that have the power to help them and their families so they can be their healthiest, happiest selves.”

March 2018 Newsletter