Khmer Girls In Action Host Wellness Week at Local High Schools Beginning Today

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Khmer Girls In Action will host a week-long Wellness Week across four Long Beach high schools to excite and engage students in being healthy and well.   The Wellness Week is an opportunity to connect students to the information, resources and skills to support their physical, emotional, and mental health and is part of KGA’s Youth at the CORE Campaign to establish Wellness Centers at local high schools.

Wellness Week will take place beginning today, Tuesday, February 18th to Friday, February 21st.  Khmer Girls In Action, in coordination with the Polytechnic High School MAPS Academy and Health Corps, will host a week of lunchtime rallies, afterschool workshops and a community health fair.  Events will be held at Polytechnic High School, Woodrow Wilson Classical High School, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School, and David Starr Jordan High School.

“You know you need a wellness center when the only thing dropping low is your grades,” said Kimberly Lim, a sophomore at Polytechnic High School and youth organizer with KGA.  “A student’s health shouldn’t be a barrier to their academic success,” said Lim.

When a student’s physical, mental, and emotional health needs are not addressed it makes it harder to focus in the classroom, attend school, and succeed academically.  In Long Beach half of Khmer youth show symptoms of depression and according to the CDC, up to one in five youth experience a mental health problem in a given year.  School-based wellness centers provide preventative care, health education, support services and connect students to resources so that they can be healthy and thrive.

School-based wellness centers have already been implemented across the nation, showing improvements in student well-being, attendance and graduation rates.  February is National School-Based Health Care Awareness Month, and Khmer Girls In Action is working to bring that movement to Long Beach.

The health fair will take place on Thursday, February 20th at Polytechnic during the school’s lunch period.  Participating organizations include The Children’s Clinic, Long Beach Health Department, Planned Parenthood, Women’s Shelter of Long beach, The Guidance Center, the Office of Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, and more who will share health resources with students.

Afterschool workshops include Restorative Justice Through Hip Hop, facilitated by the up-and-coming rap duo Shining Sons, and Music and Stress Management led by Menchie Caliboso of the well-known local band Feed the Feeble.

Wellness Week will also highlight the impact the Affordable Care Act and Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) will have in Long Beach.  Certified Outreach & Enrollment entities for Covered California will be at the schools to help students reach out to their families about how they can benefit from the new healthcare reforms.  Khmer Girls In Action is also launching a pledge that asks Long Beach Unified School District to invest school funding from the LCFF into programs and resources that will close achievement and opportunity gaps for all students, especially low-income and students of color.

“Wellness Week, and our Youth at the CORE campaign, is about taking action to invest in the health and well-being of our youth,” said KGA community organizer, Ashley Uyeda, “Our schools will be receiving millions of dollars over the next 8 years through the Local Control Funding Formula and we want to make sure our schools invest that money into programs and services that directly benefit students. Investing in the health and well-being of our youth is the smartest investment we can make because they are the future of our community!”

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