KAY project promotes mental health

Mayah Mumpower | news editor

The Wabaunsee KAY club received a Be the Spark grant through Blue Cross Blue Shield to create a room in the high school to help focus on mental health.

Over the past few months seniors Emma Alderman and Mayah Mumpower have talked to principal Jan Hutley, guidance counselor Kevin Sullivan, and mental health liaison David Amer about implementing the Be the Spark Room.

“It’s been difficult trying to finish this project so that it can be implemented because we have been working on it for three years now,” Alderman said.

The KAY BTS room is meant to be used as a safe space students may go to if they are feeling overwhelmed and are unable to stay in class. 

Two years ago the KAY officers applied for the grant focusing on mental health. After receiving the grant, the club went to work cleaning out and repainting the room they were going to use. Students of Brianna Guinn’s art class even painted a mural in the room to help brighten it up. By the end of the school year the room was finished.

“It was my favorite project I ever worked on, and even though it was halted quite a bit by Covid, I hope students can benefit from its use,” former KAY president Emma Frey said.

KAY treasurer Mayah Mumpower and president Emma Alderman sit in the KAY mental health room, behind the counselor’s office. The room features comfortable seating and activities for students to use when they need a break from the stresses of high school. Photo by Eliza Barton.

In order to use the room, a student has to ask the teacher and the teacher must approve or the teacher can refer a student to the room if they are visibly distressed. From there, the teacher calls the office and the student must check into the office before going to the room. This allows the office to know where a student is for supervision and in case they need to miss part of their next class as well.

“We hope that students will feel comfortable in the room if they need to use it and that it can be utilized for the purpose intended,” Alderman said.

If you need to use the mental health room:

1. Ask your teacher. Maybe write a note or send an email if you want to notify them confidentially during class.

2. The teacher will notify the office so they can make sure an available adult can check on the student.

3. Report to the room, behind the counselor’s office, and take a short break until you’re ready to return to class.

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