Eagle Service Club Help Students Deal with Stress

Nov. 28, 2017 ~ Everyone faces some kind of stress in their life, but what may cause anxiety for one person may not be a problem for another. Types of stress change as a person matures, and so do that person’s way of handling pressure.

Students in Olathe North High School’s Eagle Service Club took an active approach to helping their peers work through stress this fall. They baked more than 500 mini cupcakes and gave them to students who shared their tips for coping with stress or showing their resilience under pressure.

“Every year KAY Club gives school service clubs a topic to incorporate in their schools and this year’s topic is mental health,” said Phoebe Fyffe, an officer in the Eagle Service Club which is an off-shoot of KAY Club. The statewide leadership-training and character-building program helps secondary school students serve their school, community, nation and world.

“The topic is always something we take seriously, however, this year’s topic is definitely a new challenge for us,” Fyffe said.

That’s when the idea of baking “cope cakes” and having students sign a suicide-prevention pledge began. The Eagle Service Club’s first activity took place during Suicide Prevention Week in September, but their support of peers continues throughout the year.

“Eagle Service Club understands the serious of this topic and strives to positively impact students who struggle with mental health issues,” Fyffe said. “Our coping strategies ideas will hopefully inspire students to discover what can help them relieve stress, pressure, or anxiety. Those who may be struggling will know they have a group they can turn to in times of need.”

This type of peer-to-peer support is invaluable according to Angie Salava who oversees the counseling program districtwide.

“The Eagle Service Club at Olathe North is providing great messages for their students. Hearing affirming messages from peers sometimes means more than hearing them from the adults in their lives,” said Salava, the district’s college and career readiness coordinator. “Students should know that there’s always someone at school who can help them, no matter how badly they are feeling.”

Salava said there are many resources available for students who feel stressed out and need some support. They can reach out to someone at school, whether it be a friend, the Eagle Service Club, or a teacher/administrator. They can text 741741 to reach a counselor, or call a 24-hour crisis line at (913) 268-0156.

Parents may learn more about the district’s various mental health and wellness programs by visiting http://departments.olatheschools.com/studenthealth/.

“After experiencing a very difficult junior year and understanding how hard it can be to deal with the pressure and anxiety caused by a heavy course load, I was glad to participate in an activity that could be of some use to other burdened students,” Eagle Service Club officer Fyffe said. “I know how important it is to be able to cope with life’s stressors. If you do not have some method of distraction or relief, you can feel completely overwhelmed. I was grateful to be able to give insight to my peers.”

club members stand by table of treats

Representatives of the Eagle Service Club organized multiple activities during Suicide Prevention Week, including asking students for their tips on relieving stress. “Sometimes I think parents are so stressed themselves that they don’t realize how stressful life can be for their kids,” Club Advisor Kelly Warren said.

students write tips for de-stressing on small pieces of paper North students wrote their tips for de-stressing on small pieces of paper before enjoying a mini-cupcake. “Some students enjoy listening to music or exercising to cope. Many students reported that they speak with family members or friends about what is bothering them,” Eagle Service Club officer Phoebe Fyffe said.
group of students hold tray of cupcakes The Eagle Service Club members proudly display one batch of the mini cupcakes they baked for Suicide Prevention Week activities. “Events and campaigns like what is going on at Olathe North and our other district schools help remove the stigma of getting help for mental health and promote healthy living,” said College and Career Readiness Coordinator Angie Salava who oversees counseling programs across the district.