New Wellness Center Premieres on Campus

Jayson Fernbacher, Editor in Chief

Miramonte High School’s  Wellness Center made its debut this school year in the old art room near the theatre on campus. Elisa Nevarez, the Wellness Coordinator and Wayne Hunter, the Wellness Intake Specialist run the new center to aid and provide support to students during their rigorous school endeavors.

According to the site dedicated to the Center, the main goal of the space is to “improve both academic and mental health outcomes for all students.” The safehaven, which is open weekdays from seven in the morning until four in the afternoon, provides assistance to all students. Students are referred to the Wellness Center by teachers, parents or guardians, or students. Students can contact the center by text or email.

“I think the fact that students have an outlet like the Wellness Center to go to will reduce stress levels, in of itself,” senior Isabel Fine said.

Some of the services include, but are not limited to, Health Education, Parent/Guardian Education and Consultation, Support Empowerment Groups, Case Management, Individual Consultation for various topics, and more. All meetings with the center’s staff are free and confidential. 

Wayne Hunter and Elisa Nevarez are new additions to the staff, looking to improve mental health on campus. “(We strive to) relieve day to day stresses for high school teens and also create a healthy environment for students in need of encouragement or just a few words of wisdom,” Hunter said.

“What appealed most to me about this position was that I would have the opportunity to be part of something long lasting and that would positively impact students,” Nevarez said. According to Hunter, the Wellness Center has been raising been a popular place on campus, with over 50 kids stopping by to see the new facility. In the future, the two Wellness Coordinators hope to create a safe place for students to come and feel comfortable.

“We want to create a space that students can use to get social-emotional support, counseling, and resources to improve their overall wellness. When students feel well they can participate more fully in their classes and really make a difference in the world,” Nevarez said.

Miramonte is one of the many schools that have implemented a Wellness Center on campus. Other schools in the Acalanes Union High School District, Las Lomas, Acalanes, and Campolindo have implemented Wellness Centers as well. However, Miramonte is one of the few schools that has a space solely dedicated to the Wellness Center. Many of the other schools’ centers such at ones at Las Lomas and Campolindo share space with counseling offices or the College and Career Center. Las Lomas started its Wellness Center last Fall and have since observed its effects on students. “A wide variety of students use the Wellness Center, some to have a place to ‘de-stress’ with Mindful Meditation podcasts, music, art, or other support items,” Marilyn Lewis-Hampton, Las Lomas counselor, said.

The Wellness Center is a place on campus that is continuing to shape itself and create its own unique identity. Although the center is still in its early stages, it is a safe space at school where students can have personal, confidential conversations with trained professionals.

Students are getting used to the new facility on campus and are starting to embrace the change. “While some students might be hesitant to use it at first, I think it will become a common place where students go to receive help and de-stress, once they realize how beneficial it is,” Fine said.

Wayne Hunter and Elisa Nevarez pose next to the Wellness Center board outside.