This article was contributed by San Benito High School Director of Communications Adam Breen.

The inaugural Parent University session in late April at San Benito High School welcomed 20 families to the first in a series of presentations on a variety of topics impacting teens and families. That first session focused on mental health first aid. A local therapist discussed how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness.

The second session, held May 2, focused on post-secondary options for high school students, including college, the military, trades, and certificate programs. Representatives from UCLA, Santa Clara University, and other schools were on hand to present information to parents and students.

The third session, scheduled for Wednesday, May 9, will focus on awareness and education about the opioid epidemic affecting the San Benito County community. The discussion will include information on how to identify signs and symptoms of opioid use and abuse and offer resources to families.

These Parent University sessions are offered from 6-8 p.m. in the San Benito High School Davis Library, 1220 Monterey St. in Hollister. They are open to all 9th to 12th-graders in San Benito County.

Family and Community Engagement Coordinator Lorena Villagómez said the first session featured representatives from Community Solutions and Youth Alliance, whom she said made “interactive and engaging” presentations.

Parent University is funded by a Proposition 47 grant and supports students and parents by working through the San Benito High School District, the San Benito County Office of Education, and Aromas-San Juan Unified School District. Each session features free childcare, a light dinner, coffee, and refreshments.

The program’s goals include curbing chronic truancy, promoting family engagement, and establishing community partnerships. All presentations are available in English and Spanish.

For more information, contact Villagómez by phone at (831) 637-5831 ext. 194 or by email at lvillagomez@sbhsd.k12.ca.us.