HOUSTON - Dozens of Houston teens join city leaders to cycle their worries away!
They got to enjoy a real WOW moment, a "Wellness on Wheels" bike ride.
We're talking about a positive way to enhance student's moods while getting fresh air and enjoying being together. Communities in Schools or CIS just held a Wellness on Wheels (WOW) bike ride for Milby High School students.
CIS surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. It's the number-1 dropout prevention program in Texas! "We come in and we provide all kinds of social and emotional, financial support to our families and to our on school base," explains Rene Gonzalez, Community in Schools Student Support Manager.
They typically ride once a week in an after-school program (on Wednesdays), but this was extra special - to join forces and ride with city leaders like Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia, Houston City Council members, and even their Principal!
Their three-hour adventure took them to different schools, with plenty of fun stops, including an urban farm a wellness fair, all under COVID safety protocols, of course.
As an avid cyclist, Rene Gonzalez took CIS further, by starting the WOW program at Milby.
"I was thinking of names and needed something positive. And so, came up with WOW, Wellness on Wheels, and it's basically focused onw students who are dealing with mental health issues, challenges, day-to-day issues, so it has been really successful here at Milby High School in the east end district, and the kids love it and the group is just getting bigger and bigger. I have a lot of support from the community from staff from friends, so it's a really good program and it's taken off," says Mr. Gonzalez.
Students agree it's meaningful to them. Jacqueline Perrett was one of the first to join the group. It helps her deal with life's stressors.
"Being a Junior myself, becoming a senior, it does get kind of stressful, dealing with college, prom, and financial stuff, it does help really good with stress levels and stuff, so it helps you deal with your stress really good," says Jacqueline.
The pandemic has added even more stress for teens.
"Like being cooped up in just one place, deal with anxiety, depression and your thoughts kind of drown you, so I've been waiting for school to start again so I could like, you know get back to Wellness on Wheels but it has helped a lot! Now I actually look forward to Wednesdays now that helps me get through the week of school and my daily day," says Jacqueline.
Mr. Gonzalez makes sure any and every student who wants to ride can join them in what he calls - adventure therapy! This is what he told students at Milby:
"Hey if you need a bike, I will take you a bike, I will drop off in front of your house and go for that ride, you know, go for a ride, keep it at your house and just, you know, ride it as much as you can, do your breathing techniques and such as coping techniques, and it worked," smiles Mr. Gonzalez.
CIS helps more than 125,000 students on nearly 170 campuses in our area, including Alief ISD, Aldine ISD, Houston ISD, Spring Branch ISD, Fort Bend ISD, Spring ISD, Southwest Schools, and Lone Star Colleges.
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