Hicksville Public Schools and the Mental Health Coalition brought parents and community members the first presentation in a series of SEL Family and Community Engagement Workshops for this school year. This series kicked-off on Monday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. via Zoom with the K-12 Community and Resilience Parent Workshop followed by a live Q&A session.
This workshop was opened by Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Anthony Lubrano and led by Steve Chassman, LCSW CASAC Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. who has established a long-standing relationship with the Hicksville School District. He focused his workshop on ways to support our children in coping with stress and challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has made a major impact on our lives, and so many adults and students are facing challenges that can be stressful and overwhelming, which has caused strong emotions in adults and children. As a result, some people feel isolated and lonely, which can increase stress and anxiety. Chassman taught parents and community members ways to cope with stress in healthy ways that will make adults, children, and those around them become more resilient. Chassman shared, “Resiliency is about how we acknowledge where we are and how we use the tools and coping strategies to address it”.
Chassman reminded parents and caregivers that “we all deal with stress”, and “stress is our response to challenges around us”. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to handle stress. He cautioned family members to notice changes in others, especially our children, who are dealing with stresses in the world today. He noted that “too much stress is the problem”. Chassman warned attendees to “look out for others” and watch for signs of excessive alcohol usage and substance abuse, over-eating and other unhealthy coping strategies being used by our loved ones. He further discussed how stress manifests itself through biological, psychological, and social symptoms and offered healthy coping strategies, such as talking with others, exercise, painting, listening to music, journaling, mindfulness, mediation, yoga and so many more choices were discussed in his presentation.
The presentation was followed by a live Q&A session in which Chassman shared, “we are all under a lot of stress these days, but it’s what we do with the stress that counts”. Supervisor of Guidance Effie Rafaelides thanked Chassman and said to “encourage one another to care for each other, and we want the parents of this district to know we are there for you.” Todd Benjamin (LCSW), along with Chassman and Rafaelides reinforced the partnership formed in the district to be able to help students and their families in need.
If you have missed the K-12 Community and Resilience Parent Workshop that took place on Monday, you can review the video presentation at https://vimeo.com/611758368. Hicksville students and parents can always reach out to the supportive Hicksville Public Schools staff for assistance and are encouraged to reference the HPS Guidance Department website for any of their needs. Additionally, Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. has many counselors to assist anyone in need 24 hours a day and 7 days week, so please refer to their website https://www.licadd.org. The “K-12 Community and Resilience Parent Workshop” had been joined by parents, caregivers, community members, and Hicksville Public School counselors, psychologist, social workers and administrators demonstrating how it truly takes a village to raise a child.
-Submitted by the Hicksville School District