“I have never been this alive in my whole life.”
That’s what early childhood education student Darryl Sequiera said after he experienced Chill Café, a six-week long program that teaches students how to cope with anxiety, including breathing skills, stress management and behaviour therapy.
The workshop is into its third session since its start on Jan. 26 of this year. Sequiera has been joining the sessions since it began in January and said they have already boosted his morale.
“We don’t feel judged,” said Sequiera. “We feel like we are getting help.”
Sequiera is not the only Algonquin student who benefits from the workshop.
“I wanted to have the tools to help me calm down my anxiety,” said Sophie, a student who asked that her last name be withheld. Sophie is a student at the college taking the interior design program and was recommended to join Chill Cafe by her counselor.
“When we come here we may be a little anxious, but everything is left outside the door,” said Sophie. “You have two hours to see stress with a different pair of eyes.”
Andrea Fox is the intake worker for Algonquin’s Counselling Services, as well as the coordinator for Chill Café. She has been educating people about anxiety management for several years and took on the role as coordinator for Chill Café to further spread the word.
Fox has been working with Chill Café since it’s debut in fall 2016. Though the program has only been in effect for one year, the students who worked through the workshop have rated it highly.
“We didn’t have much in place to teach students how to manage anxiety,” said Fox. “Anxiety is one of those things every single person has every single day.”
Some of the skills Fox teaches the students attending Chill Café are often transferable to real life situations. Students attest that the lessons they have learned have helped them calm down before tests and mid-terms.
“I’m so passionate about anxiety management, I do practice what I preach,” said Fox. “I’ve learned a tremendous amount about myself. I can really see a difference in our participants.”