Revitalizing an underutilized space on campus, “Le Sanctuaire” — that’s the French word for sanctuary — was made possible through a generous contribution from the Larry and Helen Hoag Foundation and support from the WellSpace Initiative.
Created by the Orange County Department of Education in partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, the initiative aims to transform campus spaces into tranquil and welcoming environments for students to reset and practice mindfulness strategies with support from trained school counselors.
To date, more than 30 WellSpaces have been established at schools throughout the county.
Le Sanctuaire is intended to create a serene refuge where students can unwind and find peace amidst the pressures of academic and extracurricular commitments. With its calming design, the wellness spaces offer areas for reflection, journaling, reading and receiving guidance from counselors and trained staff. Additionally, students have access to kinetic sand, puzzles, coloring books, fidget spinners and a gratitude wall within the center.
“The goal of creating a wellspace at FVHS is to ensure that everyone on campus has a space that they can use to destress, independently manage their emotions, access a school-based mental health provider if needed, and then be able to return to their normal school day,” Cynthia Olaya, a student support school psychologist at Fountain Valley High, said.
“We want to thank HBUHSD for their enduring belief that schools are more than places to learn curricular content, but also places of safety, comfort and stability for so many.”
The high school students will also have a role in the new center as greeters. Through the school’s Student Ambassador program, students enrolled in the campus aide course will have the opportunity to earn elective credits as they welcome and tutor their schoolmates within the WellSpace. These students are vetted by school administrators and referred by campus staff.