Social Emotional Support Fair provided counseling for all students

Maya Calderon, Staff Writer

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As students and parents face stress from individual circumstances, Murrieta Valley Unified School District stresses the importance of finding help and support for these people. On Wednesday, Feb. 7, the district put on its second annual Social Emotional Support Fair at Shivela Middle School.

“We are here to support, and the best way to do that is to just make it fun,” said peer specialist trainee John Daniel who attended the event as a representative for the Riverside County Transitional Aged Youth (TAY).

TAY was one of the many services featured at the fair. This organization, in particular, provides resource and support centers throughout Riverside County. At the centers, there are both games and mental health services provided for any “transitional aged youth” and his or her family. They also enforce a “No Wrong Door” policy, meaning that they assist those who may wish to look into other services, as well. In fact, they offer accompaniment to ensure the welfare of their clients.

“If someone wants help looking for a job, or if they want help finding a place to live, or if they just want someplace safe they can go during the day–where they aren’t subject to some of the influences that are out there right now–this is a safe place they can come,” peer specialist Jeremiah Southworth informed, another representative for TAY.

While support centers like TAY were present at the Social Emotional Support Fair, counseling and therapy agencies also came to offer their services to students in the district. For instance, Encourager Counseling and Training Centers, Inc. is a non-profit organization that attended the event. It offers counseling with Christian methods; however, its staff does not discriminate, welcoming anyone who needs aid. One of Encourager’s main services is equine assisted psychotherapy, a technique that utilizes horses to stimulate physical and mental health improvement. Vicki Coffman, a retired police officer and a licensed marriage and family therapist, is the founder of this organization. It was her experience in law enforcement that inspired her to create the centers. She now works with people of all ages, from toddlers to teens to veterans.

“I work with teens to help them get focused on what they want to be. I am a strong believer in understanding yourself first and then following your passion,” Coffman advised today’s teenagers. “Don’t worry about the stuff that you’re not good at, because nobody’s going to care. Worry about your strengths, build those up, and pursue them.” Additional support services were also offered, geared towards aiding specific groups of people. These organizations involve foster care agencies for victims and families, selfcare clinics for parents, and suicide prevention training services for leadership students. This also includes the Temecula Valley chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). PFLAG aims to advocate the changing of negative societal attitudes towards the LGBTQ community while also educating its staff and members on the issues faced by those who are LGBTQ. While they hold meetings and events to provide support, their advice to teens is to surround themselves with the right people.

“Find people who are going to support you,” PFLAG representative Aiden Daneco suggested. “I know in this time it’s a little bit hard, there being the political agendas pushed at us, but finding people who care about you who don’t care about what label you have, they will give you all the support you need, and so will PFLAG.”

From foster care to counseling, the Social Emotional Support Fair provided many contacts and opportunities for students in need of help. Parents, students, and staff members were welcomed as potential clients for support and therapy. While many organizations aimed their goals towards specific groups of people, they encouraged the involvement of anyone searching for support. Several services even explained their progress in reaching out to local teens and high schools, an opportunity that would provide Broncos with easy access to social emotional support in the future.

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Social Emotional Support Fair provided counseling for all students