19:08 PM

LVHN Volunteers Create Sanctuary Inside Broughal Middle School

Staff break room is a place to relax and recharge


A sanctuary awaits the teachers and staff inside Bethlehem School District’s Broughal Middle School.

The Launch Pad, designed by Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN)’s Community Engagement team and Young Professionals group for the Volunteer Challenge, is a break room created just for them to help release the day’s stress.

The room evokes calm with soft lighting, anti-gravity recliners, massage chairs, a salt lamp, noise canceling headphones, essential oil diffusers, greenery, yoga mats, a coffee/tea station and more. It’s available to the 80 people who work at Broughal.

“It’s a place for mindful moments where teachers and staff can relax their brains and recharge,” says Rick Amato, Broughal principal.

Alicia Creazzo, community school coordinator, says teachers and educational staff often experience compassion fatigue after caring for or learning about students who are suffering from illness or other trauma.

“Our teachers, after hearing about students’ trauma or seeing how it’s impacted them, then have to manage their own feelings about what they’re hearing. It’s had an impact of secondary or vicarious trauma on the school staff,” she says.

Stress was acute this year because COVID-19 upended instruction, which affected both the school and southside Bethlehem community.

Launching “The Launch Pad”

The school already had a peace room where students could escape to relax, so there was a need for something similar for the staff, she says.

“We felt it may be really beneficial for us to have the same type of space for our staff to be able to step away when they have a couple of minutes to decompress, relax, rejuvenate, and then go back to their class or next assignment,” Creazzo says.

School and health network volunteers, working as a team, agreed on a plan. Then Broughal staff measured the room.

Courtney Penrose, community engagement and public affairs specialist, LVHN Marketing and Public Affairs Department, says health network volunteers painted the room, purchased the furnishings and staged it.

Volunteers made sure the room was ready for the return to in-person classes, Creazzo says.

Inspiration for room name

Now, the space needed a name that fit its purpose.

Inspired by the school mascot, Broughal Rockets, someone on the team suggested the landing pad, which everyone liked at first, Creazzo says.

“But that space is a place for you to go refresh and get ready for takeoff, to go back into your role. So, we ended up switching it to The Launch Pad, and that’s a play off of our school mascot,” she says.

LVHN volunteers and school partnership

Penrose says LVHN volunteers worked with the school staff for a virtual reveal in February.

“It has been an honor and privilege for us to work on this space for the teachers and staff at Broughal. We hope they enjoy the space.” she says.

The Volunteer Challenge is a Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley program that pairs local businesses and nonprofits to complete sustainable projects.

Creazzo says Broughal and LVHN will continue the partnership this year by launching virtual staff wellness programs.