A new Wellness Center that opened at Dublin High School last week will give students a place that they can turn to on campus when life becomes overwhelming, whether in or outside of the classroom.
Dozens of students, faculty and administrators including Dublin Mayor David Haubert, Dublin Unified School District Superintendent Dave Marken and DUSD Board President Amy Miller marked the occasion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning, followed by a sitdown lunch in the drama theater catered by students in the school's culinary program.
Tri-Valley school districts are increasingly focused on the mental well-being of students; Pleasanton Unified School District has held screenings of the mental health documentary "Angst" at Foothill and Amador Valley high schools over the past year, as have schools in Livermore. Students said the Wellness Center at Dublin High is a much-needed and beneficial resource for them and their approximately 3,200 peers.
"As somebody who does really struggle with anxiety, it's nice to know that we have a center now that is available all times of day for me to come, or for other students to come, and just feel safe and secure," student Jenna Bowie said during a speech that day. "We know that we're safe and secure but sometimes we need to be reminded of that."
The first of its kind in the district, the Wellness Center offers students an array of services and programs that cater to their mental, emotional and social needs. On-call, individual and group counseling, "adulting 101" classes, and tobacco use prevention education are some of the amenities that can be found at the small portable building tucked near the tennis courts.
Food and hygiene items are even available for students who have nothing to eat for lunch or forgot to put on some deodorant before heading off to class.
A small garden with seating just outside completes the peaceful environment that is expected to be a popular draw for students. Inside are private offices for counseling sessions and couches and chairs where visitors can relax in front of a small tabletop meditation fountain; vivid green succulents and modest but colorful floral arrangements brighten the otherwise standard building.
"Here we're walking the talk, and that is so meaningful," said Miller, who implored youth to take advantage of the center whenever they need. "These resources are here for you; we're here for you. We want you to be successful and we know that sometimes that means taking care of your heart and soul, and this is the place for you to do it."
Renovations on the building that now houses the Wellness Center started in May, according to DUSD spokesman Chip Dehnert. Fremont Bank donated $10,000 toward the project, which was mostly paid for using district funds.
The Wellness Center is open to Dublin High students during school days from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.