Creating Safe Spaces: How “Be You Wellness” Empowers Youth Mental Health

May 8, 2023 | Blog

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and at Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids, we believe that mental health is just as important as physical health, which is why we are proud to offer our Be You Wellness program to all our Club members.  

Be You Wellness is a program implemented at all levels of our organization, designed to support our Club members’ mental health needs. The program is led by our director of social and emotional learning, Kristin Klose, who is a licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW). Kristin oversees several Master of Social Work and Bachelor of Social Work interns to provide consistent support to our kids. Kristin also manages staff training in mental health and trauma-informed care and implements de-escalation techniques such as cool down corners. 

We work with Club members to practice adult-led regulation in the cool down corners. We use the Zones of Regulation tool to help our Club members become more aware of their emotions. Once they have identified their emotions, we provide them with a variety of coping tools to self-regulate. These tools include drawing, coloring, reading, using fidgets, writing, deep breathing, and practicing mindfulness. By offering these tools and techniques, we empower our Club members to take control of their emotions and build important self-regulation skills that will benefit them throughout their lives. Our MSW interns and staff members work with Club members that have experienced high levels of trauma or have more explicit mental health needs. 

Through our Be You Wellness program, we are committed to creating a culture shift around mental health. This means providing our staff with the tools they need to de-escalate unsafe behaviors, ensure all Club members feel safe, understand how trauma affects the brain, and encourage self-regulation techniques. With the support of our donors, we can make a real difference in the lives of our Club members and their mental health. 

Consider donating to Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids today and help us make a difference in the lives of our Club members. Together, we can ensure that mental health is a priority and that every child has the support they need to succeed. By choosing to support the Be You Wellness program, you are helping us create a safe and supportive environment where every child we serve can thrive. With your help, we can continue providing resources, training our staff, as well as purchasing materials for our Cool Down Corners. 

The Be You Wellness program is funded in part by the generosity of The Meijer Foundation, The Doug Meijer Foundation, Steelcase Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, The Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation, The Hanover Foundation, the Children’s Foundation and Kent County.