The donated Blue Bird bus will become a mobile "Chill Room" as an expansion of Allegheny Health Network's Chill Project.  -  Photo: Durham School Services

The donated Blue Bird bus will become a mobile "Chill Room" as an expansion of Allegheny Health Network's Chill Project.

Photo: Durham School Services

West Jefferson Hills School District in Pennsylvania now has a donated school bus that it plans to renovate into a mobile "Chill Room/Makerspace" for students who want innovative ways to manage stress and anxiety.

The Blue Bird bus will be renovated and designed with help from Thomas Jefferson High School's technical education and graphic design students, with completion expected in the 2023-2024 school year.

It's an expansion of Allegheny Health Network's Chill Project, a program for schools that "uses mindfulness-based exercises to equip students, teachers, and parents with a common language and universal skills to identify, discuss, and react positively to stress." Through the Chill Project, participants have access to services such as counseling, support groups, school-based outpatient services, and more.

“We are excited for this unique opportunity to create a mobile 'Chill Room/Makerspace' for our elementary school students and community, and thank Durham School Services for their extraordinary donation,” said Janet Sardon, the school district superintendent. “This bus will positively impact our students since it will provide them with a more accessible means to seek out support. The bus also is a great opportunity for Thomas Jefferson students to construct a welcoming and functional interior space and design a colorful and creative interior and exterior. We are fortunate to have a compassionate and supportive partner like Durham School Services who possesses such a strong commitment to the well-being of its students and community.” 

The donation to the West Jefferson Hills School District was made as part of Durham School Services’ company-wide Partners Beyond the Bus program, a continuous effort to serve students' growing, diverse needs. These bus donations also help to repurpose retired, non-electric vehicles from DSS’ fleets, which further contributes to DSS’ transition to alternative fuel-powered and zero-emission buses. Durham School Services plans on transitioning to an all zero-emission fleet by 2035.

“We look forward to the transformation of the bus into an innovative and mobile space for WJH students,” said Karen Kotar, West Jefferson area general manager. “We are delighted that this donation will give the students of the West Jefferson Hills School District an additional opportunity to receive the support they need when they are stressed or going through a difficult time. The Chill Project is an admirable endeavor, and we are proud to contribute to the project through our bus donation. We are eager to see how the students transform the bus and the difference it will make in the lives of the students and community.” 

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