The Ocean City New Jersey Education Foundation members donated $10,000 to the Intermediate School’s wellness center in January. By MADDY VITALEOcean City lost two young people to suicide in recent years.Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor said she and the district will continue to do everything they can to make sure that does not happen ever again.On Tuesday night, the Ocean City Intermediate School’s Wellness Center held its grand opening with a ribbon cutting, remarks from dignitaries and a presentation of a $10,000 check from the Ocean City New Jersey Education Foundation (OCNJEF).Helping children to cope, being there for them emotionally and socially are and have been goals of the district, Taylor said.“No child should die,” she said of the suicides. “That was really the driving force behind the wellness centers. We opened the wellness center at the high school. We said we have to do something.”In 2017 the high school wellness center opened, and officials said it has been so beneficial for students that educators wanted to expand it to the Intermediate School.“The School Board and I, as well as the administrators and staff, are committed to ensuring that we build a foundation of hope for all of our students. We also want to thank the Ocean City Education Foundation for their generous donation to support and fund the set-up of this new Center,” Dr. Taylor said in a release.Principal Michael Mattina helps Edison Castillo, left, of Ocean City, and his brother, Hector, cut the ribbon.Jill Berenato, a high school nurse who oversees the high school wellness center, touted the benefits of opening a center in the Intermediate School.She noted that the wellness center helps kids cope. The fact that it is now available at the Intermediate School helps prepare the students for high school emotionally.“By the time they come to the high school the students are already better prepared emotionally with a wellness center in the Intermediate School,” Berenato said.The need for another wellness center spurred school officials and members of the Ocean City New Jersey Education Foundation (OCNJEF) to work together to help finance the Intermediate School wellness center.OCNJEF President Tricia Ciliberto said that the foundation saw that the wellness center was so beneficial to students in the high school that they chose to put much of their fundraising efforts into the center at the Intermediate School.“We decided it would be such an important cause to put our fundraising efforts into,” Ciliberto said. “The wellness center at the high school has been so beneficial to the students.”Stepfanie Grisinger, student assistance coordinator for the Intermediate School Wellness Center, said it opened a couple of months ago and since then there have already been 950 visits from children.Some visits are just to sit and have lunch away from the rest of the students. Other times it has been for more serious issues, such as anxiety and stress.It has been helpful to so many students already, she said.“I have a group of students without fathers – that spurred a group,” Grisinger said.She stressed that not only is she there for the students, but the parents or guardians as well.“I am here for the students, but I am also here for you too,” she said, referring to parents. “Let’s work together to build up the students and give them the well-rounded support that they need and deserve.”Several dignitaries attended the program, including Assemblyman Antwan McClellan, Mayor Jay Gillian and City Councilman Michael DeVlieger and Ocean City Free Public Library Director Karen Mahar.School Board members including Board President Joe Clark, Vice President Jacqueline McAlister and Cecelia Gallelli-Keyes, also attended, along with OCNJEF Vice President Jennifer Shirk and Secretary Cathy DiMarco and members, Heather James, Lisa Rumer and Aimee Schultz.Tricia Ciliberto, president of the Ocean City New Jersey Education Foundation, presents a ceremonial $10,000 check to school officials to fund the new wellness center at the Intermediate School.Mayor Gillian said he is very pleased that the school district created another wellness center because it provides so much for students who need it.“It helps kids, it helps parents. Sometimes the kids just need a place to go,” Gillian said.During the open house, behavioral expert Dr. Buzz Mingin gave a talk about ways to lower anxiety, breathing techniques and how some people have a predisposition for anxiety.He noted that sometimes anxiety is due to the wrong medications, a hormonal imbalance or stress.Mingin offered ways to lessen anxious behavior without medication and explained medical and scientific reasons why people may suffer from worry and stress.“What we want to think about is our lifestyle,” he said.He advised the attendees to consider taking Magnesium, Gaba, and Omega-3 should they feel anxiety. Often, he said, there is an imbalance.Dr. Buzz Mingin offers tips to the crowd on lowering anxiety.Mingin gave a tip to taking the edge off. When stressed, gently stroke your face with both of your hands. Start at your hair line and slowly stroke down over your face and cheeks.And when breathing, he said, taking breaths every three seconds will relax the mind. He noted that athletes often do it before shooting a basket or playing football.Students may go to the wellness center for many reasons.The wellness center offers a variety of groups, initiatives and services to students, such as hosting therapy dog sessions, Yoga Club every Monday facilitated by five dedicated teachers and groups focused on improving social skills, regulating emotions and grief.Additionally, students can have individual sessions or check-ins with the Social Worker/Student Assistant Coordinator when they need a space to calm down or regroup after experiencing heightened anxiety or an inability to stay focused.For more information about the Ocean City School District visit www.oceancityschools.org. For more information about Dr. Buzz Mingin visit www.drbuzzmingin.comThe Ocean City Intermediate School Wellness Center will give students a place where they can go for help or just to get away from stress.