Palm Springs Unified School District students and teachers will be heading back to the classroom next week, but there is still time to get in some family fun that benefits a Desert Hot Springs elementary counseling project.
Through Jan. 7, Desert Rocks Indoor Rock Climbing Gym in Desert Hot Springs will donate 30 percent of proceeds collected during the “Winter Break Counselor’s Climbing Challenge” to Bella Vista Elementary School’s counseling programs addressing issues relating to childhood trauma. Cost is $10 per person.
A recent District study showed that the students at elementary schools in the city of Desert Hot Springs experience higher levels of social and economic issues such as lack of food, clothing, utilities and/or personal belongings; and exposure to violence, domestic abuse, vandalism and/or gangs. Through the District’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) funding, a counselor has been added to each elementary school in the city. Bella Vista Counselor Damon Bonelli is working on increasing the awareness of and reducing the effects for his students.
Funds raised through the rock climbing events and others will go toward sand tray calming materials and licensing for computer social and emotional programs that can be used both onsite or at home.
“Sand tray is an effective proven method of anxiety reduction that will be made more available to students experiencing anxiety,” said Bonelli.
Four of the city’s elementary schools, along with Painted Hills Middle School in Desert Hot Springs, have fully implemented Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) this year, with other sites throughout the District having pieces of the program in place. PBIS teaches and reinforces appropriate social skills. At Bella Vista, Damon has also implemented a “Peace Peer Leaders Uniting Students (PLUS)” program, modeled after the middle school PLUS program. The identified student leaders in this program will soon be selling bulldog (the school’s mascot) tags as a fund raiser for the trauma program. The tags were donated by the school’s Parent Teacher Association.
“The winter break fund raising climb was a practice run for a similar but larger fund raiser during the month of April,” said Bonelli adding that the spring event will allow people in town for the various Coachella Valley festivals to enjoy some rock climbing and support the fund-raising effort during their down time.
Desert Rocks is located at 19160 McLane Street, Desert Hot Springs. Hours are noon to 8 p.m. daily. Mention Winter Break Counselor’s Climbing Challenge to get discounted $10 rate.