The C.O.P.E . (Collectively Overcoming Problems Effectively) Club at Calhoun High School is a student-led initiative to improve mental health in a for-youth, by-youth environment.
C.O.P.E was created to provide students with a free space to relieve stress and form an even more united family within Calhoun by forming friendships and growing existing ones, as well as bridging the gap between upperclassmen and underclassmen by offering advice and sharing experiences.
Officers include juniors Emma Bhansingh, Sophie Takmopoulos, Lauren Pagliari and Meghan Vecchione. The idea for the club was born during a shared AP Psychology class.
“This group lets students play a part in how our school handles mental health,” said Bhansingh. “It empowers students by creating a community of empathy.”
“It also focuses on building important listening skills and suggests stress-relieving coping mechanisms,” added Vecchione.
Meetings are held on Wednesdays, which coincides with wellness day, where school support staff is one hand for extra hours. They also plan stress relieving activities, fundraisers, peer mentoring and more.
“Future plans involve introducing new topics and outside mental health agencies and organization available to students,” added Pagliari.
“We’d also like to possibly bring this club to the other high schools in the district,” said Takmopoulos. “Or even extend our efforts into an entire wellness week.”
The club will also be involved in the Nassau County Youth Wellness Summit on April 2, which is co-sponsored by the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District.
Club co-advisers include school psychologist Dr. Katherine Kusterer and assistant principal Anthony DeMartinis.