In an effort to foster a healthy and robust social-emotional environment, CASA has employed a full time Health and Wellness Counselor. Lily Cardasis has an MA in community mental health and is working towards licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Lily offers individual and group therapy to CASA kids who could benefit from some extra support. Lily can provide brief solution-focused counseling or long term depth-oriented play therapy for CASA students at no additional cost to families. Lily also acts as our on-site Positive Discipline and Restorative Practices coach, an invaluable resource to our teachers and families.
Kindness Is Cool
At CASA we work closely with our students to encourage respect, empathy & kindness. Each year we offer a week of workshops investigating these themes and aiming to combat bullying. Our students explore what it feels like to inhabit all three roles in the bullying cycle: The Bully, The Target & The Witness. Through experiential creative arts projects, participants are shown how inclusion and being a Witness-Hero can end the bullying cycle.
Our Kindness Is Cool programming is inspired by expressive arts therapist, Maryam Mermey who takes an innovative approach to addressing bullying. This video is from a 2010 workshop with CASA’s then 5th graders: https://vimeo.com/17425737
Our Wellness Center is a quiet oasis, a healthy escape from the often hectic school environment. Students can drop-in to the center for support with a comprehensive array of social-emotional needs. The Wellness Center additionally offers targeted, evidence-based resources focused specifically on the areas of bullying prevention & intervention, mindful relaxation techniques, sensory integration development, and emotion identification and regulation.
More information abut CASA’s wellness offerings can be found here: http://www.cardasiscounseling.org/casa.html
CASA’s Commitment to Social Justice
It is important to us that our teaching team reflect the diversity of our city and represent a myriad of gender identities and ethnicities. In committing to a diverse family of artist/educators, our students have the opportunity to see themselves reflected in our staff, and also to make positive connections with teachers who have different cultural backgrounds. All of our teachers infuse their curriculum and daily student interactions with social justice themes.