It’s about the message- kindness, wellness, acceptance. A message born of struggle, communicated by many, and needing to be felt by those who feel that they’re alone.
San Luis Obispo High School teens are not unique in their struggles or their need for positive solutions. Today’s teens have many wonderful, creative and innovative ideas for how to reach out, make a difference, and support each other. Whether using high-tech messaging via social media or low-tech messaging via post-it notes, their reach can impact many and extend farther than they may ever know.
We are grateful that the Today Show chose to highlight SLOHS’s REACH Club this morning as being one of the many groups working on positive solutions to the issues they face (stress, anxiety and depression, social pressure, feeling included and managing isolation, etc.). Stressed-out teens: Schools take new approaches to avert tragedy.
Out of pain and tragedy, we have wanted to let others know that they are not alone, to reach out and connect, and to inspire others to focus on doing what can be done- working toward positive solutions. We know from experience that great things happen when we try to be the light in someone else’s darkness.
“Kerri was the light in my darkness. Realizing many are quietly struggling and acknowledging that struggles are lessened when we don’t face them alone, we committed to taking positive action. Losing a 16-year-old son, grieving, healing, realizing we were not alone, wondering why, questioning what we had missed along the journey, seeking help, learning more about what could have been there for him (and us as parents), seeking tools and resources, initiating conversations, brainstorming ideas to fill-in-the gaps and meet needs, and figuring out ways to work on solutions have been our way to spread love.” -Ana, Tomas’s mom
Through this process, we created mindfulSLO and have been writing “Parent to Parent” and “Love Letters to Parents” for our district’s parents. REACH Club was the student part of the conversation, an opportunity for SLOHS students to learn about reaching within, finding ways to deal with the pressures of being a teen, and finding ways to reach out to their school community. An inclusive club, bringing together anyone, especially the quiet leaders, that could be empowered to lead in their own way.
Our letters have been our way to initiate much-needed conversations, let others know that they are not alone, and share resources and tools all families can use. While we do not have the answers, we seek to learn and understand. We write them with love because raising a child, especially a teen, takes a village.
Realizing what kids were needing- namely a space and place on campus to meet, talk, cultivate their own tools, learn strategies, and come together around topics of interest. REACH Club members’ efforts have led them to take meaningful actions to both help themselves and reach out to others.
Offering a warm and inviting website with resources that could have provided solace while facing challenges, led to our creating Connect Be Well for the resources we were finding. We have learned much in creating a format that is accessible and welcoming to those in need, and are grateful for those who have helped us along the way.
We are all a part of the solution. We can all do small things with great love. However, living, learning, and working requires us all to come together to do our part in a collaborative effort. This means parents, students, teachers and school staff need to work toward shared goals as we connect, act, communicate, and learn.
We are grateful for the many who have been supporting our efforts and each one for making time to do their own part.
To Learn More:
4-Week Online Group for Teens: https://www.stressedteens.com/group-for-teens/
4-Week Online Learning for Parents: https://www.stressedteens.com/training-for-parents/
Learn more about the Reach Teen Club: https://www.stressedteens.com/reach-club/