Published on Feb. 26 2020

CAMPUS

AHS Angels

The Guardian Angels are a recently formed campus service group.

By David Ye and Sarah Amani

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A group photo of Ms. Zimmerman and the Guardian Angels. From left to right: Natalie Garcia, Jessica Thompson, Viviana Jimenez, Bethel Dagnu, Kay Zimmerman, Evelyn Engen, Miguel Pena, Jessica Lewis, and Corey Dial.

“We’re like a neighborhood watch, but [we’re] watching for emotional well-being,” English teacher Kay Zimmerman said.

         

Zimmerman believes that students should care about themselves, as well as their peers. This year, she formed the Guardian Angels, a Future academy service group dedicated to spreading this idea throughout campus.

         

Members include AHS seniors Evelyn Engen, Natalie Garcia, Bethel Dagnu, Viviana Jimenez, Jessica Lewis, Corey Dial, Jessica Thompson, Miguel Peña, and Kisyah Kim. The group meets once a week to discuss subjects such as how to boost group outreach. Aside from all being part of the Futures SLC, Zimmerman picked these students to be part of the group because they had a common goal: to keep supporting students through their struggles. The group was originally a part of the wellness center, but branched off due to poor management. “

         

After what happened with the wellness center this year where it wasn’t really clear if anyone was going to be running it all the time, we decided to become a standalone group for the Future academy,” Thompson said. “It represents us and what we believe in as an academy, and now we’re able to offer support to students.”

         

Zimmerman based the group off of a similar group of the same name that was active in the past when she was a child. She was inspired by them to create a group that helped the student body, similar to how the Angels of the past acted as a neighborhood watch.

         

“[The past Angels] had a slightly different job; they were adults who believed that the streets of the cities were not safe enough and there weren’t enough police doing their jobs, so these Guardian Angels would go out on the streets with red berets and sashes on, and they would monitor the streets,” Zimmerman said. “They would actually check to make sure people were safe.”

         

The group was formed to assist the student body with common issues such as schoolwork help, stress, and friendship complications, but each member has their own specialties. For instance, group member Dagnu specializes in helping out with family, friendship, and relationship problems.

         

“One of the things we do is if we see AHS Angels The Guardian Angels are a recently formed campus service group somebody in need, or somebody without someone to sit with at lunch, or maybe they look like they’re down, or if you see someone crying by themselves, our job is to comfort them and go to them to see what they need, or maybe they need somebody to talk to, or someone to eat lunch with,” Dagnu said. “We’re just here to be a peer support system.”

         

Zimmerman chose these students, who are all in the Future SLC, because in her DPA (Developmental Psychology of Adolescents) class, they learned skills that could be used to help other students, such as meditation and self-care techniques.

         

“We had to go through a class or a certain amount of training in order to be able to be part of this group,” Engen said. “Like Ms. Zimmerman was talking about; how we all know breathing techniques and we’ve all taken a class in which we studied the psychology of adolescents. We pretty much have a good foundation of how to address these certain situations.”

         

However, the current members being all seniors brings a lot of problems that get in the way of their group’s goal.

         

“There are only so many of us and at the same time, some of us have to handle our own responsibilities, such as getting our homework done, or maybe doing college applications,” Engen said. “We try our best to make ourselves as available as possible throughout the school day. It’s just difficult with only 8 of us.”

         

Despite these barriers, their goal remains to create a more empathetic campus.  

         

“We created this group to change the culture at the school so that it starts to become normal that people are looking out, and trying to help and support each other,” Zimmerman says. “We hope that that’ll become the new normal at our school. Yes, the teachers can promote that, but I think it has to come from the students.”

         

This year, the Angels foresee increased success with the group and other students as the school year progresses.

         

“The more we advocate for our group, throughout time, we’ll accumulate more popularity and spread awareness of our group,” Engen said.

         

Through interactions with other students, they hope to shift the culture of Arroyo.

         

“In future years, I hope the culture will really shift,” Zimmerman said. “This year, I think it’ll be a very small shift, but if we can build our program and get more and more students involved and using our services, I think we can actually create a more inclusive campus.” •