Long-delayed Keppel Wellness Center finally opens | News | avpress.com – Antelope Valley Press

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Partly cloudy skies this evening will become overcast overnight. Low 49F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph..
Partly cloudy skies this evening will become overcast overnight. Low 49F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: October 31, 2022 @ 8:54 pm
Partly cloudy skies this evening will become overcast overnight. Low 49F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph..
Partly cloudy skies this evening will become overcast overnight. Low 49F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.
Updated: October 31, 2022 @ 8:54 pm
Keppel Union School District Board President Waunette Cullors (center, with scissors) cuts the ribbon with help from Keppel student ambassadors for the new Keppel Wellness Center of Lake Los Angeles as Board Clerk Dominique Ballante (left), Vice President Georgia Halliman, trustees Jannie Dutton and Theresa McCafferty and Superintendent Jacqueline Cardenas (far right) look on during the Wednesday afternoon event.

Keppel Union School District Board President Waunette Cullors (center, with scissors) cuts the ribbon with help from Keppel student ambassadors for the new Keppel Wellness Center of Lake Los Angeles as Board Clerk Dominique Ballante (left), Vice President Georgia Halliman, trustees Jannie Dutton and Theresa McCafferty and Superintendent Jacqueline Cardenas (far right) look on during the Wednesday afternoon event.
LAKE LOS ANGELES — The Keppel Wellness Center of Lake Los Angeles officially opened to the public, Wednesday, after a nearly two-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keppel Union School District trustees, administrators, student ambassadors and guests celebrated the opening at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The Wellness Center is a self-contained building at Lake Los Angeles Elementary School on Avenue Q at 160th Street East.
Although housed at Lake Los Angeles School, the building is called the Keppel Wellness Center of Lake Los Angeles because it serves the whole Keppel learning community.
“To be able to have a place in the community that they can call their own, to be able to provide health and wellness here in the community we have agencies that want to provide that, but there’s not been a place,” Board President Waunette Cullors said “so now we can open it up to the community to bring health, wellness; I can envision meditation here, yoga.”
The idea for a wellness center began about six years ago under the direction of former Keppel Superintendent Ruben Zepeda, who died, March 6, 2020, from a heart attack.
Zepeda wanted to transform Lake Los Angeles School into a pilot school to address the overall wellness of students and their families, Keppel Superintendent Jacqueline Cardenas said.
“The multi-tiered system of support grant award was secured and used in conjunction with Mello-Roos funding to bring a greater abundance of resources to Keppel families,” Cardenas said.
The core components of multi-tiered system of support, also known as MTSS, include differentiated classroom instruction and positive behavioral support.
“The MTSS model prioritizes the whole child approach for instruction, intervention and support,” Cardenas said.
District and school site staff met with teachers, support staff members and school site council parent representatives to discuss possible avenues to support planning efforts for the Wellness Center. The planning committee identified the needs of students and their families in the community, with a focus on streamlining access to District, school and community resources.
“This is especially important in a District where there is a high rate of low-income families, food insecurity, high nutrition-related illnesses and low access to wellness resources in the Antelope Valley in the middle of the high desert area,” Cardenas said.
Students and families can access a District nurse, counselor and psychologist in the Wellness Center. There are also outside providers who may provide services such as physical or occupational therapy, offer more intensive counseling services or make referrals to other outside resources. The Wellness Center also has office space for District and school staff as well as community partners. There is also a kitchen and meeting room. In the future, the District will provide transportation for families seeking support or training at the Wellness Center.
“I want to acknowledge the vision and the fruition of the Keppel Wellness Center of Lake Los Angeles as the legacy of Dr. Zepeda,” Cardenas said.
Cardenas added that Dr. Sarah Zepeda, Ruben’s widow, praised the Keppel Wellness Center and the effect that will have on the Keppel community.
The Assistance League of Antelope Valley, which previously donated backpacks filled with school supplies to the District, donated an additional 200 backpacks and 200 Target gift cards.
Brandon Roque, field representative for state Sen. Scott Wilk’s office, presented a certificate of recognition to Cardenas and the Board. Ruben Zepeda served as principal of Vasquez High School when Roque was a student there.
“I can truly say that man had a love for people,” Roque said. Zepeda “truly cared about people’s mental health and their well-being and their happiness.”
Anna Zarley, field representative for Assemblyman Tom Lackey; Charles F. Bostwick, assistant field deputy for Supervisor Kathryn Barger; and Vickie Ventura, CEO of the Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce, also presented a certificates in honor of the new Wellness Center.
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