BY ASIA THOMPSON
As the new school year starts, students have the opportunity to join clubs as a way to interact with peers and help out the community. At the Bay, a new club has formed this year called the Mind-Body Awareness Club. Jake Miller, Co-President of the club, said it came into fruition as other Mind-Body Ambassadors underwent a six-week training program under the didactic of various teachers.
“Facilitators fostered the necessity of an outlet for students who simply wanted to engage in being mindful,” Miller said. “This helped spread the message of how important being mindful is through a variety of methods; among relaxation techniques, guided imagery, Qi Gong, yoga and many others.”
Due to the Coronavirus, interactions for clubs have been reduced to Microsoft Teams meetings, but that does not restrict the club from pursuing new activities. Guidance counselor Rosa Mazzocca said that they plan to continue on Teams with biweekly meetings. Mazzocca said ambassadors embarked on a training program prior to this school year and are opening more training programs in the future.
“Thus far we have 37 students who have successfully completed the 6-week mind-body training to become ambassadors. The first cohort of students took charge of submitting the club bylaws and created the club,” Mazzocca said. “Our plan is to keep meeting using Teams and train a new cohort of ambassadors soon.”
The tragedy at Majority Stoneman Douglas was one of the reasons why the club was created: to cope with events like this in positive and healthy ways. The club has roughly around twenty members and is still growing. Miller said that the Mind-Body club was made from the ambition of the club members to teach and encourage others on the notions of mindfulness and mind-body medicine. Sofia Delacruz, one of the members of Mind and Body, said she joined in the hope of gaining knowledge on mental health.
“Before the club started, I struggled heavily with mental health issues and wellness training, I started to finally feel normal again,” Delacruz said. “ I personally plan to help myself cope since we are going through this pandemic.”
Miller said that the club plans to accomplish many goals for the community including informing people on their initiatives, introducing plans through social media, and assisting students with ways to become more mindful. He said that the integration of this plan will serve to influence the communities’ awareness on being mindful.
“[The club] serves to provide students with healthy and psychologically proven methods of mindfulness,” said Miller. “ Which are intrinsic and equitable to everyone as well as foster a community where mindfulness is facilitated exponentially to all who seek it..”
Members host and participate in virtual “teen talk” events, in which the students interact with their peers and community. Mazzocca said that the students’ perseverance to make the club successful through these events, despite the challenges, is honorable.
“I am very proud of them as they have done many activities in our school and for the community. They have participated in two ‘teen talk’ events hosted by United Way,” Mazzocca said. “One of the [teen talk] events was held virtually via zoom.”
Delacruz said she encourages her peers to join the club to help with their wellness problems with others who may be dealing with similar situations. She said since noticing changes in her wellbeing since joining the club, she hopes it can work for others as well.
“Our club, on the other hand, wants to inspire all of Cypress Bay to try to use meditation and wellness to help with anyone’s problems,” Delacruz said. “ Since our club is brand new this year, we are getting new members from friends of friends.”