S.O.S. lends a helping hand


[media-credit name=”Shelley Bustamante” align=”alignnone” width=”300″][/media-credit]

The majority of students at Carlmont are familiar with the program Students Offering Support, which is more commonly referred to as S.O.S., which is a support program that is run by Shelley Bustamante, Carlmont’s guidance counselor.

A lot of students believe that S.O.S is very helpful and beneficial to Carlmont and its overall atmosphere.

“I think Ms. Bustamante is amazing. She’s always there for me when I need someone to talk to, and S.O.S is the same way; they’re amazing,” sophomore Crystal Cortez stated.

The S.O.S. group consists of hundreds of members who come from all types of backgrounds. A select few of these members are leaders of sub-sections within S.O.S.

S.O.S presents to freshmen about a variety of different topics which are typically prominent in high schools. These presentations are done by the members of S.O.S over a span of about a week and take place in freshman history classes.

According to Kendal Wise, a member of S.O.S, these topics include “practicing safe sex, homophobia, anxiety and depression, bullying, academic success, healthy relationships, alcohol and drug resistance, and family troubles.”

S.O.S provides a much more hands-on method of helping as well.

“The members of S.O.S also counsel their peers with whatever they need to talk about. Core members hold conflict mediation, which is when two or more students become involved in a conflict amongst each other, and S.O.S kids sit down with them, talk about the problem, and come to a resolution,” Wise added.

On top of that, the S.O.S presentations to the freshmen classes during the 2011-2012 school year inspired the beginnings of a few new groups.

“Out of the blue during the second semester… a few students created their own groups based on their personal experiences: hate crimes, LGBTQ acceptance, and H.O.P.E (healing our past experiences),” said S.O.S member Steven Tsujisaka.

Hate crime is violence against others based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or identity, disability, and more. The group will present to Carlmont students. Furthermore, some S.O.S members will also be giving a presentation to a high school in Newport Beach.

The LGBTQ acceptance group was created by a student based on his own experience with discrimination due to sexual orientation.

The last group, H.O.P.E, focuses on people who have gone through “a life-altering and traumatic experience such as death in a family or sexual abuse/violence,” explained Tsujisaka.

These groups cover issues that are extremely prevalent in high school. They have broadened the horizons of S.O.S.

Wise sums up the essence of S.O.S saying, “Aside from the actual work we do, I personally think the most important thing S.O.S. does is form an outstanding group of kids of all different grades, personalities, and person experiences that unite us as one big, close-knit family. We help others who are in the process of helping themselves.”

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