Impact on Education funds six Wellness Centers
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Impact on Education and Boulder Valley School District introduce Wellness Centers to provide access to mental health support during the school day
Louisville, Colorado (October 18, 2023) – In response to the growing need for youth mental health support, Impact on Education and Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) opened six high school Wellness Centers, providing a haven for students who tracked 2,500 visits within the first month of the school year.
“BVSD created its first Wellness Center at Monarch High School in response to the 2021 Marshall Fire. When we saw the impact the Wellness Center had on their school community, we committed to creating five more and sustaining the one at Monarch,” says Allison Billings, Executive Director of Impact on Education. “Students need support to manage their emotional health. BVSD’s mental health professionals can help teach them how, while the school Wellness Centers give them the space to do so.”
Impact on Education, the nonprofit foundation supporting Boulder Valley School District, raised $1.2 million for mental health, which funded the creation and staffing of Wellness Centers at Boulder High, Centaurus High, Fairview High, Monarch High, Nederland Middle-Senior and New Vista High. The funds were raised through donations from generous individuals and community partners, including the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, Rocky Mountain Health Plans—a UnitedHealthcare company— and Rotary District 5450.
“Our donation to Impact on Education reflects a broader commitment by Rocky Mountain Health Plans to partner with communities across Colorado to address youth mental health,” said Patrick Gordon, CEO, Rocky Mountain Health Plans. “Now more than ever, we must support students, parents and schools by bringing awareness to this important public health issue and offering resources to improve the well-being of our youth.”
BVSD’s Wellness Centers are designed as warm and inviting spaces, featuring soft lighting, relaxing music, flexible seating, and sensory activities like fidget toys, puzzles, and kinetic sand. Each Wellness Center also offers free tea for students, courtesy of The Tea Spot. But the most important part of each Wellness Center is the mental health professional, a Mental Health Advocate, there to support each student who walks through the door.
“The goal of our Wellness Centers is to provide safe and accessible spaces on school campuses that offer mental health support and promote social-emotional wellness,” says Dr. Rob Anderson, Superintendent of Boulder Valley School District. “The challenges our high school students face today are more complex than ever before. These Wellness Centers are an effective and proactive component of the support we’re able to provide during the school day.”
Students have described the Wellness Centers as “cozy cafes,” praising the ambiance as a quiet escape from the stresses of school. While others say their Wellness Center feels special to them and they are torn between telling everyone how welcoming it feels to relax in the room and wanting to keep it a secret.
To evaluate the Wellness Centers, Impact on Education and BVSD have partnered with the Renée Crown Wellness Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. Through surveys, observations, and Wellness Center check-in and check-out forms, the Institute will analyze data to help evaluate the use and operations of each Wellness Center. The evaluation is intended to support ongoing programmatic improvements, determine best practices, and provide a holistic view at how the wellness centers can support student’s emotional health and well-being.
BVSD’s commitment to youth mental health reflects the growing importance of promoting student well-being and resilience. “We’re funding these Wellness Centers because we believe they’re powerful tools for supporting our youth and helping them thrive,” says Allison Billings. “BVSD is setting an example for other school districts to follow.”
ABOUT IMPACT ON EDUCATION
Impact on Education is the foundation supporting nearly 30,000 students and 4,000 educators across Boulder Valley School District. Since 1983, we’ve provided community funding and resources to empower educators and schools to meet the evolving needs of students. Providing students access to the resources and opportunities they need to be successful helps advance equity in our public schools. Because even when life isn’t fair, access to excellent and equitable education should be.
ABOUT BOULDER VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Boulder Valley School District, which serves 28,000 students over 500 square miles along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, stands as a leader in academic excellence with outstanding classroom teachers, exemplary schools, and programs that support student achievement.