Hidalgo County grant supports second annual Mission CISD Youth Wellness Camp

Hidalgo County grant supports second annual Mission CISD Youth Wellness Camp

MISSION, TEXAS (Dec. 8, 2023) - Mission Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) concludes its second annual Hidalgo County Youth Wellness Camp, made possible through a $60,000 grant awarded by Hidalgo County.
The camp took place at K. White Jr. High, with sessions running from September to November.

Organized by the Mission CISD Guidance and Counseling department, the Youth Wellness Camp aims to help middle school students enhance their mental health coping skills through a carefully designed curriculum. This program was made possible through collaboration with Hidalgo County and the Hidalgo County Judge's office, with support from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office.

The camp featured five Saturday sessions led by Mission CISD school counselors, providing students with valuable tools for social-emotional learning (SEL). SEL is a vital process that enables children and adults to understand and manage emotions, set positive goals, show empathy, build relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Mission CISD Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Carol G. Perez, emphasized the significance of the initiative, stating, "This initiative has reflected Mission CISD's dedication to fostering a positive and supportive educational environment for the second year in a row, where students could thrive academically and emotionally. The success of the Youth Wellness Camp underscores our ongoing commitment to providing not only academic excellence but also nurturing the emotional well-being of our students. We believe that a positive and supportive educational environment is integral to their overall growth and success."

Utilizing the newly developed curriculum provided by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office called Mindful SELF (Social and Emotional Learning Framework), students engaged in activities centered around self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness. The curriculum placed a strong emphasis on wellness and well-being concepts, incorporating guided breathing and movement exercises into each session.

Participating students had the opportunity to explore various art and physical activities, including yoga and mindful walking, aimed at fostering a holistic approach to well-being. The curriculum's focus on arts and crafts served as an extension of the SEL concepts, creating a dynamic and engaging learning environment for the students.

"Through stress-relieving activities like using paint to project their emotions, students experienced a powerful transfer of negative emotions," said Melissa Anzaldua, Counselor at Cavazos Elementary. "Our innovative approach involved students applying paint over a poster board, and once they removed the tape attached, it revealed the word ‘OUT’, symbolizing a transformative release of any negative emotions they may have been facing."

Participating students and staff at the Youth Wellness Camp are laying the foundation for improved mental health, social-emotional skills, and heightened overall well-being.