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Norwich elementary school students offered program to remove stress​

Norwich Youth and Family Services collaborated with school social workers and a contractor to create a program called Zen Kids, for students in grades 2-4.

NORWICH, Conn. — With the weight of the pandemic, the Norwich Youth and Family Services will be hosting a six-week after-school program for 2nd through 4th graders starting April 20th in response to many having reported feeling scared, anxious, and having difficulty focusing.

"A lot of our students are stressed out," said Jason Zeigler of Norwich Youth and Family Services.

So, Norwich Youth and Family Services collaborated with school social workers and a contractor to create a program called Zen Kids, for students in grades two through four.

"Part of my job is like going around everybody’s house making sure everyone has all of the craft supplies they need to make sure everybody’s communicated with," said Zeigler.

Among the personal items, the children will create during the one-hour workshops: a special box.

"A plain brown box they decorate for themselves and get to put it in a special place it could be in a bedroom someone somewhere that’s accessible for them," said Zeigler.

And they fill it with stress relievers they also make, like a stress ball or even a water bottle that can create a tornado.

NYFS will conduct the Zen Kids program in person at the Senior Center.

"The more kiddos that come in we will find room we will find safe space to make that happen," said Zeigler. 

And they chose these particular grades based on professional recommendations.

"Our social workers are saying those are the kids that really need the extra love and support right now," Zeigler said.

He says this program was born out of listening to one another.

"Like help each other understand what we need and then find out what resources we have we can pull together and bring together in order to support some of our most vulnerable population which is our kiddos," he said.

For more information, log on to the Norwich Youth & Family Services website or email Zeigler at jzeigler@cityofnorwich.org.

    

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