An AmeriCorps program connecting service members and under-resourced communities throughout Washington state
My name is Hannah, and I’m an AmeriCorps member serving at Davis Elementary in College Place, Washington. At Davis, my primary task is to staff the “Focus Room”, a room in the school’s office where students can go if they need to emotionally process something that’s going on in their life.
Some students have “regular breaks” because they need scheduled blocks of emotional regulation throughout their day, while others will come to the Focus Room as needed. My job is to listen and help the students talk through how they feel, and offer support and potential solutions as needed.
Another one of my tasks is to keep an excel sheet updated with data from the Focus Room so that we can track how many kids are using it. At this point we are quickly approaching 1900 visits since the beginning of the year. Since there are so many kids coming in and out of the focus room, there is often several kids in the room at once, which is one of my favorite things to witness.
I’m thinking of a particular instance, about two weeks ago. There was a kindergartner who came in after leaving her classroom in tears over something another classmate had said. Another kid, a second grader who comes in for scheduled breaks, was there already. When he saw she was crying, he walked over to her and asked if he could show her a breathing exercise that he knew. He then led her through it, told her everything was going to be okay, and gave her a hug. It’s so cool to see the ways that the kids are internalizing the emotional regulation tools that they’re being taught, and the ways they are helping others with them. I feel lucky to be able to see it.