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Reconnecting Youth helps Bruins overcome odds

Daniel Bussinger, the Reconnecting Youth teacher, talks to the class while Juniors Pippyn Carney and Jacob Arshawsky look on. Photo by Kalei Owen

People always tell each other that they can’t go far alone. They like to say that you can’t handle anything by yourself, and that it’s pointless to try.

When people are told things like this, they tend to shut down, unless they have help or are told differently by someone they trust.

Here at Bear River High School, there is a class that offers that emotional reassurance.

Whether it’s the need to feel heard, or the frustrating feeling of being alone, or some other incomprehensible thing that teenagers go through, the Reconnecting Youth (RY) class at Bear River is the place to go.

Daniel Bussinger, a Spanish teacher and the RY teacher, explained what the class does for students.

“Reconnecting Youth is a small class that’s designed to help students develop coping skills so they can make it through high school,” Mr. Bussinger said.

Mr. Bussinger also elaborated on his opinions about the RY class and what it does.

“Reconnecting Youth is a good class in my opinion, because it gives kids that extra reassurance that they need to make it through high school,” said Mr. Bussinger. “If they need a place to go, or if the teachers see them struggling then they send them to the RY class. It is designed to help them manage their emotions, make healthy choices, hopefully want to graduate, and become citizens of the world.”

Sadly, while the Reconnecting Youth class might seem ideal for some people, a student can’t just talk to a counselor and sign up. To be enrolled in the class, students need to be recommended by any staff member to join the class, and even then chance for a student to get admitted are low.

The lucky few that end up in the RY room seem to enjoy their time immersed in the class. Some students have even come out of it extremely grateful for their time in RY.

Layla Ray, a junior, explained what happens in the class.

“The beginning few months of RY are about building trust, and knowing where you are and knowing that you’re not alone,” said Ray. “The class is  typically only twelve to fifteen people. You start off building trust, and you work your way up to drug and emotional control, and having control over your behavior.”

Ray also praised some of the relationships she made in the RY class.

“Towards the end of my sophomore year, the whole class came together as a family,” she said. “Throughout the year we realized that we could talk to each other, and really bond and communicate. I still go to the people from that class when I need to talk to someone about something, simply because I know I can, and I feel comfortable doing so.”

Pippyn Carney, a junior, also enjoyed the closeness of the class.

“To me, Reconnecting Youth is a class where everyone can be themselves,” Carney said. “You can really open up as much as you want to, and you can trust the people around you in that class.”

Even though there was some talk of removing the RY class last year, Carney thought that would be a mistake.

“I had a lot of fun in that class and I think that it’s a class that should be kept around for many more school years to come,” Carney said. “Some of the most memorable experiences are just learning about the people in the class with, and it’s not a stressful class, so that just makes it more fun.” 

Sophomore Aries Daniels talked about the experiences he had in the RY class.

“I think that the best part of Reconnecting Youth class is that you always have someone to talk to, and you never feel alone in the world,” he said. “The best values that I’ve taken away from that class are patience with others and understanding that everyone deserves to be heard, no matter who they are or what they do. The best part of my experience in RY is all of the support that everyone gives each other, and the awesome way we are able to connect and really get to learn more about each other.

For those of us who feel as though they don’t fit in, or even if you just feel like you’re in need of a friend, Reconnecting Youth is something you should look into.

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Reconnecting Youth helps Bruins overcome odds