Digital Exclusive: Local teen center accepts grant for mentorship program, takes on mental health during COVID-19

Digital Exclusive

BERWICK, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — For many students, the past several months been extremely difficult. The pandemic has separated children from the familiar school and their friends causing many to report negative changes in their mental health.

“The first time you actually like miss school. You’re like outside, and you’re with friends instead of being at home all day,” Camila Amaya, a 9th grader, said.

While the Berwick School District decided on a hybrid model for learning, students say things could change quickly.

“It’s a little better than how it was before. But if it went all virtual I think that it would cause a lot more stress cause it’s like still happening,” Amaya said.

“With the current state of affairs,with COVID, kids have been isolated.They’ve been, you know, Especially kids in this areas who don’t have the necessary, the resources that are important that maybe others do have and have access to. And so maybe their mental health has suffered,” Theresa Peters, Director of the Berwick Teen Center said.

To combat these effects, the center plans to start the ‘Mindful’ Well-Being Maintenence Project. It’s a mentorship program focused on maintaining good mental health.

“Anything that they’re going through or struggling with, whether it’s maybe a personal relationship, or maybe it’s school or academics. It could be home life that they’re strugglign with. That mentorship would be able to address those issues and really help that teen,” Peters says.

The center was recently given a grant of over 10,000 dollars from the Susquehanna Community Foundation to help support the mentorship program. Students believe the program will help.

“Having those programs are really important because it gets those kids to be able to come to a safe space and talk and kind of have a different environment than what they’re used to like they’re houshold and their same family members,” Angeni Peters, a 12th grader at Berwick Area Senior High School, said.

“Somebody who understands too from like your perspective could really help a lot case you feel like you’re not hte only person who’s alone and going through this. Because it could, I don’t know, when you’re like alone for so many months and you finally have someone to talk to it could really relieve a lot of stress,” Amaya said.

The grant will also be used to support the center, which now offers a tutoring for students to offer a constructive learning environement as they learn from a hybrid model. Peters says youth from all areas, not just Berwick, are welcome to utilize the teen center and its resources.

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