South San ISD students’ grassroot movement produces results

Earlier this year, students at South San ISD put out a plea for the need of affordable mental health services. Months later, the community has answered their call.

SAN ANTONIO – It was a plea that seemed like it would go unanswered.

In March, South San Antonio Independent School District students expressed their concerns to KSAT over the district spending money on reopening three schools instead of mental health services for students.

The district instead moved forward with reopening the schools despite repeated calls from students to invest in their mental health. But the community heard their calls.

The South San Antonio ISD Care, Acceptance, Reassurance, and Empowerment Zone, or CARE Zone, a new wellness center for students, parents and employees, will open Nov. 15.

The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, San Antonio Communities in Schools, the Jewish Family Center, Clarity Child Guidance Center, Rise Recovery and Family Services will provide resources for free through a one-year pilot program.

Students said the new center will provide crucial resources for students who are dealing with the stress of school, work or family issues.

“People don’t think that what they’re going through is a real like illness. They just think it’s an emotion they can control," said Marc Mendiola, a senior at South San High School.

The center, located in the Athens Elementary School campus, will also be used to house community classes, a food pantry and a clothing center.

The district hopes the services will translate to better student attendance, grades and overall health.

Private donations from the community and business corporations helped fund the new center. There is still no plan for how it will be funded after the one-year pilot program.

About the Author:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.