Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy opening decompression room

Denver 7

May 25, 2023

A picture with a play button superimposed over it: Decompression space with shelves that have yoga supplies, a poster of yoga poses, and a close up painting of a restful buddha face. The space includes two yoga mats with meditation pillows on the floor .

(Description Text below from DPS Public Schools)

DENVER – We could all use a place to go when we just need a minute. A way to let off steam or find inspiration.

“It’s super rad,” said 11th grader, Piper Morian, who helped design the space.

“I think it will be an important tool for students to use to relax and take a breather from the stresses of high school,” Morian said.

The new mental health space at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy (KCAA) is created by students, for students. It includes a kickboxing bag, guitars with amps, yoga mats, 3D art, and a hand painted mural designed by local artist and KCAA graduate Zaida Sever.

Anyone in the K12 school can use it, but the students will collaborate with adults to decide how it’s accessed and supervised. It’s not meant to be a hangout space so you can skip class.

“It’s just emotional being in there and seeing how good it looks,” said Tony Abel-Pype, the Student Voice & Leadership Coach.

He guided a group of about 12 high school students in a DPS student leadership competition called Challenge 5280 where kids flex their civic muscles and take on issues in their own schools. Two years ago, coming out of COVID-19, the students decided they needed a mental health space. Now, after $15,000 in grant money and lots of sweat equity, they’re ready to show it off.