Natural Helpers offers support

New resources inspire connection


Maria Prez-Barriga

Natural Helpers introduced a slideshow during Park Connections, which includes a virtual classroom and other available resources for students to use. The virtual chill room is open to all students at 3:30 p.m every Wednesday on Zoom.

Katie Nelson

After grappling with how to help students during online learning, Natural Helpers went on a hiatus. According to Natural Helpers adviser Allison Luskey, they have struggled the past couple of months to find ways to efficiently support students.

“We really had to think and start over with how we could best reach students, and show students that we’re there, that we care about them and that they’re not alone,” Luskey said. 

Currently, Natural Helpers meets virtually every Tuesday, where they discuss issues happening at Park and ways that they can provide assistance. For the first time, they will be hosting an online training for new members instead of in-person. 

According to senior and Natural Helper member Elizabeth Orton, the group aims to build a safe and welcoming space for everyone during this unprecedented time. 

“We’re just hoping to create an environment that people feel comfortable in,” Orton said. “That students can hope for success and feeling better and more optimistic about the future.”

Resources such as a virtual chill room and peer tips were provided during Park Connections this week, allowing students to access a new support system. According to sophomore Sophia Earle, the first virtual meeting was hosted Wednesday night and was a positive experience.

“It’s nice for students to just have somewhere to relax or to hang out and feel more connected to people,” Earle said.

I just want to help as many students as I can, especially during this time, and just be there for people,

— Sophia Earle

A student-created slideshow shown during Park Connections also provided more resources and tips to help with mental health. Luskey said she hopes it will bring more mental health awareness, not just with the pandemic but in general as well. 

“It’s always been common to struggle with mental health, all of us do sometimes, and in addition, I think it’s really brought to the forefront,” Luskey said. “We tried to bring us together because nobody’s alone in that, we all are struggling.” 

Students also created and shared videos to give others advice on coping strategies and ways to stay organized — Orton believes these will be helpful for students who may be struggling. 

“Finding ways to calm yourself down and create good strategies for success is really important right now, “ Orton said. 

Through these new initiatives, Earle said she hopes that they can provide plenty of support and a sense of community for students who need it. 

“I just want to help as many students as I can, especially during this time, and just be there for people,” Earle said.

The virtual chill room is open to all students who are interested 3:30 p.m every Wednesday on Zoom. A Zoom link is available in their Instagram bio, @SLPnaturalhelpers2021, or in the Student Support Time app. Anyone interested in becoming a Natural Helper is encouraged to reach out to Ms. Luskey.