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Leadership Team Supports Mental Health

There’s no question that we’ve all lived through an extraordinary year and for many it has been filled with anxiety or stress. Finding practical, meaningful ways to deal with that can also be challenging. Recognizing this challenge, several students in the Leadership Program at Yale Secondary School in Abbotsford reached out to Communitas with a generous gift of self-care.

“With Covid still going on it’s important we remember to take time for ourselves both mentally and physically,” says Cristina Simpson, a grade 12 student at Yale. “We wanted to be able to make a positive difference where Covid has made a big impact and we thought of the people served at Communitas. We just wanted to remind them that we’re in this together.”

This encouraging note accompanied the donated gifts

Doug Primrose is a teacher at Yale and oversees the Leadership Program, which includes more than 250 students over four grades. The program is designed to create a positive school culture and be active in community. Doug is proud of the way students exemplify leadership.

“The students take initiative and it shows them how even little things can help,” he says.

Thoughtful gifts focused on self-care

Cristina, with fellow students Cassidy Cheyne, and Lesina Lapa, decided to put together care packages filled with items focused on self-care. They filled baskets with scented handwash, warm slippers, and sparkly hair ties. They also included items that might spark creativity like artist journals and puzzles. Then the team contacted Sarah De Klein, the resource development coordinator at Communitas.

“We were so encouraged by this generous gift and the time and thought that went in to putting it together,” Sarah says. “Those who receive these items will feel cared-for.”

The gifts have been distributed to a number of people served through Communitas Supportive Care Society. Lyndsay Clarke, a program director with Communitas, says the gifts show genuine care for others.

“It was clear that a lot of thought went into these packages and we’re so grateful that the students thought of the people we serve,” she says.

Communitas program director, Jacqui Toews, looks over the gifts donated by the leadership team at Yale Secondary

Doug says that the community engagement part of the course teaches students to think beyond themselves with the hope that they will carry this with them once they graduate and as they learn to be better citizens. As for the girls, they are just grateful that they could do something meaningful for others and raise awareness about the need for self-care in stressful times.

“We’re pleased to know that our donation will be used to help multiple individuals with wellness,” Cristina says. “We also hope to encourage others in our community to get involved and support organizations like Communitas.”

Photo at top: Sarah De Klein, centre, received the gift packages from Yale Leadership students Christina Simpson and Lesina Lapa

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