By Justin Law, Staff Writer
// At the third event of Acalanes High School’s Black Excellence Month calendar on Feb. 9, Athletic Behavioral Health Coach (ABC) Jason Gant discussed the impact of adversity and the importance of self-love.
Gant is from Bayview-Hunters Point in San Francisco where he attended Lick-Wilmerding High School. He later studied public health and got his master’s in behavioral health and global entrepreneurial management at the University of California, Berkeley.
“I now work at Kaiser Permanente as a behavioral health educator where I created the first youth and teen mindfulness and stress reduction program for Kaiser Permanente Northern California as well as a communications coach for executives at Decker Communications,” Gant said.
Gant has given these talks to students for over ten years. He became interested in them because he, himself, needed support as a teenager. He discovered that he could share the tools and skills that helped him.
“Once I started practicing and engaging them, I realized that they actually worked, and now I preach the benefits… I did not foresee myself being in this… career, but I guess I believe in it so much that it has propelled me to it,” Gant said.
During his talk at Acalanes, Gant shared his experiences as an ABC. He specifically stressed the importance of recognizing the universality of trauma and sympathizing with others.
Gant also had students practice exercises to help them connect with each other, including the “Just Like Me” exercise, where Gant explained the stresses that everybody feels. Students partnered together while Gant emphasized that their partner experiences problems, just like them. Many students found these exercises insightful and engaging.
“I’m really glad I went and it really helped me learn about how the body deals with stress and other things and how I can help myself relieve it,” frosh Nathan Joseph said.
Gant also led students through other interactive activities, such as having students dance and move to meet new people.
“I really liked those [activities]. I felt that they were helpful in understanding the concepts he was trying to explain,” Joseph said.
Overall, Gant hopes that the attendees better understand the importance of self-love and connection through his workshop.
“People do not have time for themselves, so when I talk about self-care and slowing down and putting your best foot forward, usually people don’t have time for that,” Gant said. “The knowledge of how to take care of ourselves is priceless. I see it every day in people having more autonomy and feeling more empowered in their lives.”
Check out the photos below!