Calming Room provides stress release for School 61 city students

Jan 18, 2019

As an effort to promote positive mental health for students, another Buffalo Public school has added a Calming Room.  WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says it opened Friday at the Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction School #61 on the city's east side.  

Soothing music, light blue walls, salt lamps and stuff animals make up this Calming Room at School 61. Amy Luraschi is a program coordinator at the school. She and other teachers painted the butterfly wall mural.  

“Probably it would be maybe the first step to almost identify the students that are having the hard time by bringing them here, calming them down, de-escalating a situation, learning more about why they are upset and then calling in our SST, which is our social worker, school psychologist  guidance counselor,” Luraschi explained

Inside the new Calming Room at School #61.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

School 61 Principal Parette Walker said this room is designed to create a quiet space for students who feel stressed and need a classroom break.  

“And so sometimes they just need to relax and know that everything is okay – not to take too seriously. To know that they will get through the day, they will get through the classroom – so that’s what this is all about – just to help them refocus and get back to learning,” said Walker.

This is the second Buffalo school to open a Calming Room thanks to the generosity of the owners of Bocce Pizza, Jim Pacciotti and  Marcia Pacciotti. 

“I’m the CFO and director of community relations. My friend from high school – Mary Jo Gerace - at Frederick Olmsted School – reached out to me and she saw that I was on social media, through Bocce’s, trying to good things in the community and so she said is this something you would be interested in? – I pulled Jim aside and said ‘look it, this is what they need in the city’. They need these Calming Rooms for the kids. Is this a place you want to put your contributions?” explained Marcia Pacciotti.

“What can we do for kids for education and facilitating their greater education? I think it’s a great thing. Just a place for them to go and decompress and you know, get back on their feet – it’s a great think,” Jim Pacciotti declared.  

The Bocce owners made a generous donation to both schools allowing the creation of these rooms. They will now open an application for a third school to create a Calming Room.