Some students at Virgil Elementary School recently created a “worry tree” to help school children and community members learn strategies that help address their worries. The worry tree project was introduced by members of the FCS school-based counseling team in collaboration with school administrators and local businesses.
Students and community members were able to write down their worries on paper leaves and place them in worry boxes. The boxes were located at the school and in three businesses in the community who agreed to participate— Long Island Bagel, Indulge and the Local Food Market. “By sharing our worries and writing them down, you can lessen their impact,” said Sue Marks, Director of the school-based counseling program.
The following week, students covered their four foot tall worry tree with all the leaves that had been collected. As part of the project, students and counselors talked about dealing with worries. “When we can name our worries, we can deal with them. It helps student see that they are not the only ones that worry,” said Marks. “We also discussed letting go and reducing worries.” After the discussion students participated in a yoga/breathing activity.
Marks felt the project made a nice connection between school and community. She had an opportunity to talk with shop owners and their customers about the project and received a lot of positive feedback. “People thought it was a great idea,” she added. The worry tree was also displayed at the annual Mental Health Dinner last month.