Home Mental Wellness Becky Bean bolsters City College students with health and wellness – The...

Becky Bean bolsters City College students with health and wellness – The Channels

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The+Wells+Student+Program+Advisor+Becky+Bean+in+her+office+on+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+4+at+City+College%E2%80%99s+Wellness+Center+on+East+Campus+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+Bean+has+been+running+The+Well+since+it+first+opened+in+the+summer+of+2018.

August Lawrence

The Well’s Student Program Advisor Becky Bean in her office on Tuesday, Nov. 4 at City College’s Wellness Center on East Campus in Santa Barbara, Calif. Bean has been running The Well since it first opened in the summer of 2018.

Since the summer of 2018, Rebecca “Becky” Bean has been running The Well, providing support for City College students’ mental and physical health.

Bean, the Student Program Advisor at The Well, focuses her work on the Eight Elements of Holistic Health which represent the emotional, physical, nutritional, social, intellectual, environmental, spiritual, and financial areas of our well-being.

“I think it’s so important that we look at not only our students but at each other as these multi-layered individuals,” Bean said.

Bean describes helping individuals to find their voice around mental and physical health as being the most important aspect of her work. She visualizes herself in the passenger seat, offering directions to the student behind the wheel in order to “empower them to gain the skills and toolsets to help them on their health and wellness journey.”

In order to complete all of these areas, the Well offers a wide range of workshops, support groups and other events surrounding the mind, body, spirit and health.

“It’s not one-size-fits-all for our mental health. We’re all so unique,” she said.

Being Jewish herself, Bean and her family lost many loved ones in the Holocaust during World War II. This led her to want to do work that provides social justice. She said she wants to make sure that individuals who don’t have access to resources and mental health support have a safe place and support around them.

“I knew from very young growing up that’s what I wanted to do,” the Student Program Advisor said, “but I always wanted to mix it with culinary arts.”

This desire led her to earn a Culinary Arts Certificate from San Francisco City College. From 2010 to 2012, Bean worked as the Professional Development Coordinator for the DC Central Kitchen in Washington. This nonprofit and social enterprise helps individuals find employment and assists adults transitioning from incarceration with hands-on culinary vocational training.

“They use food as a tool of empowerment,” Bean said. “I believe everyone deserves a second, third, fourth, fifth chance in life.”

Her passion for culinary arts took her to the nonprofit LA Kitchen, where she worked from 2013 to 2015, serving as Director of the Culinary Job Training Program.

The LA Kitchen, which also works with formerly incarcerated individuals, homeless, or those aged out of foster care, recycles healthy local food that would otherwise be thrown away into meals for social agencies that feed those in need.

From left, student Maria Castillo Lamk, The Well's Student Program Advisor Becky Bean, The Well student worker Kate Ottrando and student Allegra Kabukapua Kalombo during a group wellness session on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at City College’s Wellness Center in Santa Barbara, Calif. The students expressed feeling overwhelmed and overworked, which Bean said she related to and advised taking some time off for themselves to decompress.
From left, student Maria Castillo Lamk, The Well’s Student Program Advisor Becky Bean, The Well student worker Kate Ottrando and student Allegra Kabukapua Kalombo during a group wellness session on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at City College’s Wellness Center in Santa Barbara, Calif. The students expressed feeling overwhelmed and overworked, which Bean said she related to and advised taking some time off for themselves to decompress. (August Lawrence)

Now, with her work at The Well, Bean wants to break the stigma of mental health and emphasize that it’s okay to reach out for help.

She teaches students in her programs about mindfulness through arts such as singing, painting and writing. Her goal is to provide a toolbox of skills that can uplift them when they’re feeling low or stressed.

“I really love helping students learn about how to advocate for themselves not only in their academics, but for their mental and physical needs,” Bean said. “We’re focusing on health prevention and inspiring students to take the lead for their health.”

The Well was the first free-standing wellness center out of all 116 California City Colleges and set the trend for others to do the same.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, The Well offered its program virtually, showing students they had support no matter the circumstances.

“You have a network here who believes in you and wants to support you,” Bean said.

The wellness center team currently consists of Bean as the Advisor, student worker Kate Ottrando, 10 personal counselors and the help and cooperation of different organizations on campus.

“It takes a village to create this program. It’s a whole family of great people who make this work,” Bean said.



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