When attending the National Prevention Network (NPN) conference in November 2015, YAK identified youth marijuana use as a local concern. YAK determined that in part this use is due to youth self-medicating for stress.
In the last two years, school stress ranked as the primary concern for IHS students on the Peer Helpers Survey, a tool used by youth clubs to identify areas for improvement.
"The Safe Space gives students who need time to breathe or decompress a positive environment just for them,” says YAK president Eddie Hillard. “The safe space provides destressors such as coloring sheets, stress balls, and more to help combat the stress and anxiety any teen can endure in high school."
The Safe Space Room is intended to promote self-regulation, where students can identify over-stimulation and de-escalate quickly and independently.
In the spring YAK did a series of presentations to IHS staff and administration, and secured a space in the high school’s office. After finalizing policy and procedure this fall, the room was opened just prior to the holiday break.
"I know that the Safe Space will become a great tool for success in Ilwaco High School," says Hillard.
Youth Action Klub (YAK) is the youth arm of WellSpring Community Network. YAK works to promote youth wellness through projects like the Safe Space Room and educational presentations to staff and local government. YAK is open to all IHS students.
Thank you to WellSpring and the IHS staff and administration for their support with this project!