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Bethpage School District Shines The Spotlight On Districtwide Health And Wellness Initiatives

Pictured: Director of Guidance Thomas Kenny (right) and peer leaders from Bethpage High School’s Sources of Strength program presented at the Bethpage Board of Education meeting on Jan. 23. The group is pictured with Bethpage school psychologist Dr. Louis Ricci (left).

Photos courtesy of the Bethpage Union Free School District

The Bethpage Union Free School District’s Board of Education gathered at Charles Campagne Elementary School for its business meeting on Jan. 23. At the start of the evening meeting, the board and community heard from Director of Guidance Thomas Kenny who presented on mental health and wellness programs across the district.

Mr. Kenny spoke about what mental health is and its importance. “Without mental health, there is no health,” he shared. While emphasizing on building a culture that cares, he discussed the many ways in which Bethpage students focus on social-emotional learning and wellness initiatives. Mr. Kenny shared tools from the elementary level such as the Zones of Regulation and character-building programs such as the Energy Bus. He also spoke about some wellness initiatives at the secondary level such as ninth graders participating in a mental health advisory class.

During Mr. Kenny’s presentation, he displayed pictures of how the school buildings have fostered student wellness. This included pictures of Bethpage High School’s Mindfulness Room and pictures of collaborative lessons that were held during Red Ribbon Week and Bullying Prevention Week. He also discussed the district’s many resources and partnerships with outside organizations to support student wellness and the community.

To further highlight wellness and how students are getting involved, Mr. Kenny spoke about Bethpage High School’s Sources of Strength program. Sources of Strength provides young individuals and adults with the proper training and curriculum to promote mental health and help prevent suicide, violence, bullying and substance misuse. He invited five of Bethpage’s peer mentors, Eugenia Gioulis, Violetta Gioulis, Isabella Richemond, Gabriella Russo and Catherine Taaffe, to present on the program.

Bethpage High School has 46 students and 23 adult advisers involved in the Bethpage Sources of Strength program. The students serve as peer leaders who spread messages of “hope, help and strength” across the school community through campaigns, events and extracurricular activities. During the board meeting, the five peer leaders spoke about their training, peer groups, goals and the support of adult advisers. The students also shared their upcoming campaigns for each month of the school year and discussed their plans on how to incorporate Sources of Strength in the high school.

At the conclusion of the presentation, board members praised the peers leaders and Mr. Kenny on their informative presentation.

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