In a heartfelt attempt to prioritize student welfare over the holiday season, Jacqueline Snell, McKinley Middle
School welfare Coordinator and Community Advocate, launched “A Day of Solace.” Recognizing the difficulties faced by kids who have lost loved ones during the holiday season, Snell’s program goes above and beyond traditional support by giving a specific day for students to express feelings, share experiences, and receive coping guidance.
Snell is well-known for developing “The WaterCooler Room,” an innovative year-round wellness center at McKinley School of Arts in the Pasadena Unified School District, and for his commitment to holistic development programs that address children’ emotional needs. Snell’s program brought together a committed team of skilled therapists to counsel mourning pupils, establishing a safe environment for emotional expression in collaboration with Jazzy Jam for Empowerment, an organization focused on social concerns, mental health, and wellness.
The event saw enthusiastic support from various groups and organizations, including Leda Hernandez (Grief Counselor, PUSD), Mia Williams (Foothill Family), McKinley Counselors, Early Intervention Specialists, and sponsors such as Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, the Dianne E. Watson Center for Compassionate Intervention, Pasadena Police Department with Neighborhood Servants, and Keck USC.
The initiative addressed immediate emotional needs and fostered a supportive community beyond the event. Leo Cablayan, a Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity representative, emphasized the event’s significance, stating, “It’s a much-needed event.”
According to ‘Reports’, suicide is the second leading cause of death among U.S. adolescents and young adults. Snell understands the ‘why’ in providing targeted support to help these students navigate their emotions and find relief during this sensitive period. By collaborating with mental health professionals and PUSD counselors and caseworkers, she’s created a supportive community where students feel heard, understood, and cared for. “If you’re depressed, have anxiety, you’re bereaved, or you cannot focus, we are here for you,” says Snell.
RECOGNIZING THE HOLIDAY SEASON AS A POTENTIAL TRIGGER FOR EMOTIONAL DISTRESS, SNELL’S INITIATIVE ADDRESSES THE MULTIFACETED IMPACT ON STUDENTS:
1. Emotional well-being:
The holiday season can be a challenging time for students who have experienced loss or are grieving. It may trigger feelings of sadness, loneliness, and grief, as they are reminded of the absence of loved ones or experiences. By providing support, schools can help students navigate these emotions and promote their emotional well-being.
2. Academic performance:
Grief and emotional distress can significantly impact a student’s ability to focus, concentrate, and engage in their academic responsibilities. By addressing their emotional needs and providing necessary support, schools can help prevent a decline in academic performance during this period.
3. Sense of belonging:
The holiday season often emphasizes togetherness, family, and celebrations, which can intensify feelings of isolation for grieving students. By fostering a supportive and inclusive environment, schools can help students feel a sense of belonging and reduce their sense of isolation.
4. Community support:
Schools play a vital role in creating a community that supports its members, especially during challenging times. By acknowledging and addressing the unique needs of grieving students during the holiday season, schools show compassion and empathy, fostering a caring community where students feel understood and supported.
5. Long-term well-being:
By establishing a supportive environment during the holidays, schools can lay the foundation for ongoing support and promote the long-term well-being of grieving students.
Understanding that grief does not adhere to a set timeline and that the impact of loss can extend beyond the holiday season, Snell, via the “WaterCooler Room”, will ensure that support for grieving students continues beyond this period, with ongoing check-ins, access to counseling services, and a long-term plan for their well-being.
Jacqueline Snell is dedicated to student wellness and providing support for grieving students during the holidays, exemplifying her commitment to a compassionate educational environment.
For more information about Jacqueline Snell’s advocacy efforts,Visit [Here]: 👈🏼
This article was first published in BizBoost.