By Sam Ekstedt
Jan, 16th 2024
One of the only things you can guarantee is that life is unpredictable. Chance is a real thing, and it’s a gamble if events will turn out good or bad, and more often than not, if things go south, they go south fast. The average time for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to respond to a call is seven minutes, just for the EMS to arrive at the scene and get boots to the ground. There’s still the time it takes for the EMS to reach what they’re there for. A lot can happen in those precious minutes, but when someone with knowledge of emergency response can help until EMS arrives, the chance of survival increases exponentially, and lives are saved. There is a vital need for more people in the community to learn about emergency response and essential medical response, and HBHS’ SHIELD Club rose to meet that need here on campus.
Two years ago, in 2022, SHIELD Club was founded with a mission to educate the HBHS community on both Emergency Response and Mental Wellness, and ever since then, they’ve been meeting on Wednesdays at lunch and doing just that in room C4. Mrs. Dunn, the club’s advisor, said about their meetings, “Many of these topics can be difficult to talk about, but our club meetings have great energy and a positive but realistic approach to these subjects. We go over something new each week. The president and the vice president of the club will introduce some background information, then give tips and ideas on ways to prevent, respond to, and or handle a real-world example, which sometimes includes learning a new skill.”
SHIELD Club emphasizes group conversation rather than lecture, so members are encouraged to contribute, share their knowledge, and ask the President and Vice President questions. “Our lunch is meant to be the one time we can unwind and hang out. We spend all of our time sitting in lessons being taught. Personally, I wouldn’t volunteer for more class time, and we can hardly ask for others to either. We try to make every meeting interesting, interactive, and be real with you. Like, this stuff is really important, but it’s also really cool, so if we can break out the CPR dummies or training EpiPens and have some fun, then that’s all the better,” remarked SHIELD’s Vice President Langley Bradbeer. Shield Club covers a wide range of topics from Hands Only/SideWalk CPR to Heimlich and even party safety. There’s something for everyone. Bradbeer said, “I really liked the EpiPen one [meeting]. It’s something everyone should know, and it’s one of the more interactive ones we do.”
But emergency response and general health and safety aren’t the only things that SHIELD Club covers; a secondary focus for the club is Mental Wellness. It’s a topic whose importance is undeniable, and SHIELD’s format of having a guided conversation with its members is perfect for relating to and facilitating members to support each other with what they’ve got going on. Everyone’s got different circumstances, and it can be difficult for some to be able to talk about problems like anxiety and depression. SHIELD’s secretary, Angel Valenzuela, commented about SHIELD’s environment, “There’s lots of jokes definitely. A lot of our members are very fun to hang out with, and we have a really good time talking about serious topics while still taking them seriously.”
While far less taboo than it has been in the past, mental health is such a multi-fanged beast that sadly often feels impossible to tame, let alone talk about. SHIELD strives to open the dialogue and touch on mental health topics that are often not discussed. Valenzuela said, “I love talking about seasonal depression because it’s a topic that’s not commonly talked about among students. It’s something that’s very beneficial to talk about around the holidays and bring awareness to those sorts of things.”
While still relatively small scale, the work that SHIELD club is doing at HBHS is incredibly important to creating a safer environment on and off campus. As SHIELD Club continues to thrive, it not only prepares individuals for unforeseen emergencies but also creates a friendly space for students to spend their lunches and walk away feeling a bit more prepared to face what life throws at them. Life and its challenges can seem daunting, but you can help tip the scales by educating yourself on how to handle them. Be sure to stop by room C4 and check out SHIELD Club; meetings every Wednesday at lunch!