New Mindfulness Center Looks to Inspire Serenity

Caitlyn Neils, Center Editor

For many students, stress feels nearly inevitable. However, a joint project between school counselor Ms. Kimmel and Media Specialist Ms. Gardner, is looking to rectify that by creating a Student Mindfulness space. While most of the details are still in the works, they are extremely excited for the area, currently dubbed “The Panther Den,” to offer students a respite from this stress.
The inspiration for such a space came from a mindfulness workshop Ms. Kimmel attended. It was there that she observed students enjoying activities and realized that Paint Branch needed a spot like that. Combining with Ms. Gardner, who has already made waves with her Makerspace this year, the two make an ambitious duo who intend to bring some calm to the storm.
Even in the planning stages of “The Panther Den,” the two already have bountiful amounts of ideas and activities in mind Kinetic sand, sound machines, and journaling are only a tiny glimpse into their plans. Students who enter the safe space might possibly have a chance of seeing a fish tank, created with the help of Ms. Ryan and her Environmental Science Club. “We’re trying to create a little mental balance,” Ms. Gardner stated. They are, however, throwing around the idea of having a schedule to keep the space serene and calm. A schedule or a sign-up sheet would give them the flexibility to control activities and plan ahead, while also alerting students of what’s coming up, whether that be crafting or pet-therapy meditation.
Yet to create such a place it will “take a village effort” including having a therapist, outside volunteers, and teachers willing to supervise. They also welcome suggestions and ideas, so stop by the counseling office or media center to share yours. “I just feel like it’s putting out some positivity in a very uncertain world,” Ms. Kimmel reflects, “and if we can do that and even, you know, find 5 to 10 minutes of calm in a hectic day, then we’ve done something good.” After Interim Principal, Ms. Pettis Jones, quickly found the perfect place for them within a week and encouraged the duo to continue, Ms. Kimmel and Ms. Gardner have a tentative date of opening in early spring, possibly before spring break.