Project Name: DBHS Wellness Center

School Name: Diamond Bar High School

Location: Diamond Bar, CA

Description: A team of students at the Diamond Bar High School Wellness Center began a peer counseling group at their school in an effort to lower rates of anxiety and depression among the students. At the Wellness Fair, the team launched the initiative and recruited students to serve on the team dedicated to shifting school culture.

The Opportunity: Over the past few years, students at Diamond Bar High School had been growing more and more stressed with academics and their relationships and social interactions. The rise of depression and anxiety among students was troubling and impacted their performance in school.

The Project: With the help of faculty advisor, Sandy Davis, a proposal was submitted to create a wellness center and peer counseling program with a unique social emotional focus made available for every student. Trained peer counselors offered to meet with students, and a Wellness Internship opportunity was created for the most experienced, advanced peer counselors. Those who applied and were selected for the Wellness Internship put the project into action by offering counseling services, sharing SEL resources and facilitating wellness outreach events in order to “empower student wellness from within.” The wellness team eagerly opened their doors to the new campus Wellness Center on February 1, 2016. The program launched with a full-day wellness fair to promote awareness of the importance of a more balanced approach to wellness and of the services now available for students campus-wide, with the larger mission of shifting school (and district) culture into embracing and prioritizing wellness as a positive school community norm. The Wellness Center is open most school days from 8AM to 3PM.

The Impact: The response has been overwhelmingly positive in the school community. Since it opened, the Wellness Center has served over 500 students and received positive feedback on their efforts. The most popular partnership at the Center is with therapy dogs from the Pet Prescriptions Team. These highly trained canine therapists visited AP and IB students before high stakes testing last May with calming results, and the organization has just recently committed to sending a therapy dog to be “on duty” in the Wellness Center every Thursday.

In addition to individual wellness counseling services, the Wellness Center’s outreach projects have been valuable in shifting campus culture. Last month, in collaboration with ten other organizations, they hosted a week-long Respect Matters Campaign which addressed critical issues raised by students who attended the last DB Forum in February (DB Forum is a peer counseling facilitated full-day workshop hosted twice yearly that provides students a safe place to explore challenging teen issues and promote service leadership; For more information, check out: Daily, they highlighted an issue which included the importance of being educated and respectful of: all cultures, mental illness, genders, environmental issues and self-respect.

The Future: The Wellness Team at Diamond Bar High School is committed to continuing their efforts by collecting evaluation data and making program decisions based on students’ changing social, emotional needs, and ultimately developing and expanding student support services/SEL resources in the Wellness Center Library.

“Providing students with these opportunities to connect through peer counseling is paramount to building authentic self-esteem and individuals who will grow to be well-balanced, productive adults.”

      Sandy K. Davis,  Faculty Advisor