Bridge Street Hosts Health and Wellness Conference

WHEELING- What did Bridge Street Middle School students learn in school on Thursday? Money habitudes, social media safety and how not to fall for a jerk.

The Ohio Valley Family Resource Network sponsored the Health and Wellness Conference held at Bridge Street Middle School. The morning event, featuring an array of health and wellness workshops, has already taken place this year at Triadelphia Middle School.

“This is a great opportunity for the staff at Bridge Street to work with agencies within the community to help our students grow,” said Joseph Kolb, assistant principal at Bridge Street Middle School.

Claudia Raymer, Ohio County FRN executive director, meets with a school’s counselor prior to the conference to determine appropriate workshop topics that will meet the needs of the students at that particular school. Once the workshops are finalized, students choose four 30-minute sessions they most want to attend.

For the Bridge Street event, workshop titles included: “I Think I’m Stressed,” “Cyberbullying and Social Media Safety,” “Exercise for Non-Athletes,” “How Not to Fall for a Jerk,” “Rising Above Negative Influences,” “Goal Setting,” “Taking Pride in Your Health,” “Generation Rx,” “Acceptance,” “Tobacco and You,” “Money Habitudes,” and “Toxic Friendships- Recognizing and Ending Them.”

“We’re reaching an at-risk population, but we’re also reaching every student with what they need to know to be productive in society,” said Raymer about the range of issues addressed at the event.

“We know this isn’t going to solve the problems of the world. But it gives (students) enough information to say ‘Maybe I do need to think about the way I save money… Maybe I do need to think about the goals I’m setting… I didn’t realize all of those chemicals were in tobacco…'”

In her role, Raymer finds topic specialists to lead session discussion. These presenters are volunteers from organizations including Youth Services System, WVU Extension Office, and Ohio County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, among others.

During her workshop, Linda Holmstrand from the American Lung Association conducted a tobacco tea demonstration and explained the harmful effects of tobacco. When asked what they believe some of those effects are, students readily provided answers ranging from “bad breath” to “lung cancer.”

At the end of each session, students completed evaluations.

Their responses are always honest, according to Raymer.

“They write a lot of responses. We take that to heart and make sure the presenters get those back.”

The next Health and Wellness Conference will be May 15 at Warwood Middle School.