Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022
NNDSB drop-in wellness hubs use fun to build stress management skills
Near North District School Board (NNDSB) is running drop-in wellness hubs for students in North Bay, Parry Sound and Burk’s Falls again this summer. These drop-in hubs run until Aug. 18 and are places where students can connect in person, engage in fun activities and learn tips to cope with stress.
At the wellness hubs, NNDSB child development counsellors and educational assistants take a complete approach to well-being, providing support and tools for physical, mental, emotional and social well-being.
NNDSB acting mental health lead, Lana St. Louis, said the staff at the drop-ins build stress management skills into fun activities, like journaling and mindfulness. Students learn life skills such as easy and healthy meals and snacks they can make at home to nourish their bodies. Stress management skills are often illustrated through fun activities that we each enjoy doing.
Some of the fun activities happening at the wellness hubs include journaling, creating healthy meals and physical activities to aid with healthy bodies and healthy minds. At the Burk’s Falls hub, students and staff take advantage of the sensory room available at Land of Lakes Public School to promote stress management. The sensory room is outfitted with soft chairs, mats, soft lighting, a large swing and fidget toys.
St. Louis also noted that one of the ways the pandemic has impacted many older children and adolescents’ mental health is through “social malnutrition”. The wellness hubs provide an opportunity for outside of the school year for students to be with peers, make new friends and practice social skills with the support of a trained counsellor.
Even though they drop-in and leave anytime, St. Louis said most students stay for the whole day. All are welcome to drop in at the hubs at any time, however, students under the age of 12 require a signed parental consent form.
“This is the second year the program is running. The students who attended last year enjoyed the program and the staff were able to make connections with students that continued into the school year,” St. Louis said.
In North Bay, the hub is operated at OUTLoud, 123 Delaware Ave. Tuesdays to Thursdays from 11:30 to 3 p.m. for ages 10 to 18. For more information, email email@example.com.
The Parry Sound wellness hub is located at The Drop, 80 James St. Tuesdays to Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. for ages 12 to 18. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Burk’s Fall hub is at Land of Lakes Public School, 92 Ontario St. Mondays to Fridays from 11 to 3 p.m. for ages 10 -18. For information, contact Dorothy.email@example.com.