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Oxnard Union High School District rolls out Wellness Centers on all campuses

Oxnard Union High School District rolls out Wellness Centers on all campuses

VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - A special group in education has rolled out a new "go-to" Wellness Center, 11 of them, one on each campus in the Oxnard Union High School District (OUHSD).

"We want students to have a place of refuge on campus," said Freda Rossi, OUHSD Director of Wellness and Inclusion.

Each Wellness Center offers a place where teens can escape the stresses of school and life, especially during a pandemic.

Students at Pacifica High School voted to name their center "The Cove."

"The cove is a more calmer part of the ocean," said Ester Dominguez, Student Wellness Specialist at Pacifica High School. "Its circular and safe."

Doors are open throughout the school day as a place to gather or spend time alone. Each center is staffed with 10 specially trained wellness peers.

"I don't think I know a single student who doesn't go here at least once," said Tracy Hoang, a senior at Pacifica High.

The goal is to connect each student to the support they need, including individual or group counseling.

"To have the safe space where students can come in and relax and rejuvenate and then go back to school, feeling better than they were before, it's a really great experience," said Hoang.

Wrap-around services address deeper issues like domestic violence, family homelessness and food insecurity.

"Many of our wellness centers are also hosting family events or parent education events to better equip parents with the knowledge of how to look out for their student if they feel that that student may be experiencing anxiety or depression," said Rossi.

Each center has a calming zone stocked with items to help destress and an area for meditation.


"At first, maybe the first week, we had a couple students in. Slowly, surely we'd see students that were coming in with classes, they'd be showing up at lunch and nutrition. Sometimes we have way too many students in the center that we have to, you know, cut it off," said Dominguez.  

Students on all campuses can look at their Wellness Center as a place for healing, in a sort of 'home away from home' setting.

"I would love parents and students to know that it's ok to get help and getting help doesn't mean that you're weak, it just means that you're not alone," said Hoang.

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Beth Farnsworth

Beth Farnsworth is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3. To learn more about Beth, click here

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