The Evolution of CI’s Wellness Center 


Walking into the Wellness Center, you find a big room with comfortable chairs which you can easily adjust if you need the space. There are crafting tables, charging stations for your devices, and calming music playing on the tv. Our very own therapy dog in training, Maslow, could also be found in the center. Just 2 years ago, the center we all know and love, looked nothing like it does now, its main use was for storing district furniture. 

Ms. Kimberly Pilpil, one of the student wellness specialists, started 2 years ago at C.I. and was a large part in helping the wellness center become what it is now. Previous to her, Mr. Ivan Kozin, now working at Frontier High School, was our only wellness specialist. Mr. Kozin made a virtual wellness page during COVID-19, that would provide students with calming resources, phone numbers for support, and a place where they could schedule a time to meet with him. But there was no physical wellness center just yet.

“We had to pull out tables, there were no desks and no phones. Right now, it’s just evolved,” Ms. Pilpil said.

Our wellness center provides a safe place for students to express their emotions, or to be relieved of any stress and/or anxiety. There are activities planned every day at lunch that students can attend. Students can also walk in to sit down, or see Maslow.

 Maslow, the 1-year-old Goldendooodle therapy dog in training, has helped the wellness center in many ways. He has passed two of his certifications to get to his therapy dog test, which means he is getting closer to becoming a therapy dog! Maslow has helped many students and brought a smile to many faces, and will continue to do so.

“He is a very valuable piece to our wellness center,” said Ms. Cervantes, his handler. Don’t forget to wish Maslow a belated happy birthday, as he just turned a year old in March! 

Not only does our center provide assistance with mental health, but it opens our students’ minds to new activities. The wellness center has helped many students in many different ways. 

Without it, our school wouldn’t be the same. 

“The numbers can change from 100 a day to 130 walk-ins a day. The most we’ve had was about 300 students,” said Ms. Naidelyn Guerrero, the wellness guidance tech. 

Now that our wellness center is much more evolved, as Ms. Pilpil mentioned, it consists of staff, plans, and activities. Some of our wellness center staff include wellness specialists, Ms. Pilpil and Ms. Elizabeth Cervantes, guidance tech, Ms. Guerrero, and student peers. Each of these members helps contribute to what the wellness center offers, such as resources, lunchtime activities, and even someone to talk to.

The most popular activities include slime-making and mindfulness jars, says Anahi Solis, a student peer. The lunchtime activities have given students the opportunity to learn new things, and have helped with stress management. 

“We want to make it fun and tactile,” said Ms. Pilpil. “Something where you’re not just sitting being lectured about.”