Oak Park’s new addition – The Wellness Center

A safe-haven for our student population

A new addition to the Oak Park High School campus is open to all students. The Wellness Center, located in H-16, is a place intended for students to decompress, meditate or just relax. Fatima Hernandez, the new wellness counselor of the district, describes the inner workings of the center.

Several months in the making, the Wellness Center represents the culmination of a district-wide effort to prioritize student emotional well-being and long-term happiness. Currently, the Wellness Center is open for visitors and all students, as the ongoing setup process continues and a grand-opening ceremony is in the works.

“I’m actually still in the process of it. I’m taking it one section at a time. Something that was really really fun was picking out the furniture,” Hernandez said. “So that was stressful but it was actually super fun and now we’re transitioning into a tougher piece which is policies and the process of students coming in.”

The center officially opened at full capacity on Nov. 1. The room has puzzles, books and board games. In the future, Hernandez plans to expand the center’s role, further integrating it into the school’s environment with coordinated events.

“In the future, I want to have a lot of workshops here during lunch. Hopefully grow into groups as well and bring in guest speakers from the community,” Hernandez said. “That’s one of the huge things I want to do and will take a few years maybe to gather all those different networks.” 

The Wellness Center was opened to offer students an outlet to express their emotions free of judgment. Hernandez hopes that students feeling the weight of the year can come to the Wellness Center to decompress.

“I just want students to know that this space is for everybody and it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are or what grade, it’s a place where you can come to get resources, to get an education and to just be a safe space on campus,” Hernandez said.