As a key player in the local education scene, the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu has branches at all the schools in the community to provide services and programs for local youth.
Since 2016, students have had access to the club’s Wellness Center for mental health and counseling. As part of The Malibu Times’ ongoing coverage of National Bullying Prevention Month in October, we looked into services available to students through the center.
“We’re busy; boy, we’re all over the place,” Wellness Center Director Randi Goodman said in a phone call with The Malibu Times. “It’s exciting. There’s more room to grow.”
The center first debuted its services back in 2016, as the “sole entity providing social and emotional support services to Malibu High students,” according to its website.
It officially opened its doors a little more than a year ago, located at BGCM’s Teen Center at the Malibu Middle and High campus. Since then, it has provided a whole host of services and programs, including forms of counseling, support groups, workshops, internships and more. Students and their families as well as community members have access to the center from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and on Saturdays by appointment.
In terms of counseling, it works on a referral process.
“At the elementary level, it goes through the principal and teacher,” Goodman said, adding that “[students] can come directly to us.”
Once the referral is made, Goodman will match the student with an intern or counselor. Currently, the Wellness Center has seven counselors, all graduate psychology students from neighboring universities including Pepperdine, UCLA and USC. (They are all supervised by Goodman, who is a licensed clinician.)
The counseling is available to students who are not members of the club, as well.
In addition to being an outside resource, the Wellness Center has programs integrated within the schools.
At the elementary level, the center offers programs such as S.M.A.R.T. Girls and Lunch Bunch to bring students together in a group-based setting.
At the high school level, seminars are planned within the students’ curriculum. For example, 10th graders participate in half-hour seminars once a month to promote emotional wellness in and out of the classroom.
A hallmark of the club is its sober club—nicknamed Brent’s Club—offered to middle and high schoolers who have issues with alcohol and/or drug usage. According to Goodman, the program runs for 10 sessions where participants take a drug test once per week. They are offered private counseling, and later, incentives such as use of iPads and laptops or special events when they remain sober.
At the core of its creation, the Wellness Center exists, per its website, to “make social and emotional wellness available to all, at no cost and with no barriers to access.”
For more information or to contact the Wellness Center directly, visit bgcmalibu.org.
If a child is exhibiting the following symptoms, as determined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, parents are advised to reach out for guidance.
- Sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
- Severe mood swings
- Sudden overwhelming fear
- Hurts themselves/others or makes plans to do so
- Continual usage of alcohol and/or drugs
- Extreme difficulty concentrating