A Look Back on Wellness Week


Last week, from Oct. 22 to 26, West Ranch celebrated Mental Health Week with a variety of decorations encouraging self-love, activities like jenga and yoga, free food and even adorable dogs. Teenagers were encouraged to engage in the week of activities to relieve stress related to mental health as such are consistently affecting their value of living. West Ranch acknowledges this as well as the three alumni suicides that have happened in recent years.

On Monday, the theme was “Feed the Soul” and bagels were given out in front of ASB during brunch. Kindness grams were also available, and you could write notes to your friends or anyone for free with the added bonus of candy, courtesy of ASB. Students also had fun finding their names around the “Wellness Walls” located in the upper buildings.

“PositiviTEA” was the theme on Tuesday, and students were encouraged to wear green for the day, and Arizona tea was given out in front of ASB during brunch. On Wednesday, a yoga class with Ms. Sage was held in the gym at 8 a.m.  Different games and activities like Jenga and darts packed the upper quad during brunch.

A “Stand Up to Mental Sigma” booth was also present, where students handed out flyers and a variety of pamphlets. The club’s goals for this year includes raising awareness and creating a community environment in the school wherein everybody can come together and discuss mental health and illness in an open and safe environment. The club has also placed green boxes in classrooms to raise money for research and non-profit organizations, therapy dog days and Tedx Youth conferences to conduct next semester on campus.

Houston Kraft, a professional speaker and kindness advocate graced us with his presence in a two-part assembly during third period last Thursday. He was introduced by ASB President and Vice President Izzie Crume and Kelsey Bacon. He enthusiastically kicked off the program by sharing different personal experiences and stories that allude to the concepts of love and kindness.

According to Kraft, being “nice” is a reaction, meaning that if a person is nice to us, we in return have an obligation to be nice to them. But kindness, however, is proactive, meaning that we ourselves step up to take action and get out of the comfort zone. By the end of his talk, Kraft challenged us to take at least five minutes a day to demonstrate kindness or talk to different people we normally don’t converse with. He also took the time to converse with different students who had questions or simply had things they wanted to discuss with him after his presentation. His talk, though somewhat cheesy in certain ways, was something we all needed to hear.

Wellness week ended on Friday with the company of therapy dogs who were present in front of the theatre during brunch and lunch. A long line was formed during both times as students anticipated petting those adorable dogs who were very friendly and seemed to love the attention they were getting. Two of the dogs even dressed up in tiny Halloween costumes.

Though Wellness Week has formally ended at school, we must still continuously practice it in our lives. Loving and taking care of ourselves will always be difficult and shouldn’t be sugar coated. Sometimes that means going to sleep at 9 p.m. even though we haven’t finished our homework, or simply saying “no.” Let Wellness Week be a reminder in the midst of this hectic school year to look at ourselves and embrace the present situation in our lives.