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Cenla School Based Health Center: Not your average nurse's office February 16, 2018

GRANT PARISH, La. Source: (KALB) -  Medical care can get expensive, but in 17 schools around Central Louisiana Christus Cabrini School Based Health Center's lower those costs for students. 

They aim to provide quality medical care at no cost to children in undeserved areas. The center's function as a mini clinic. With the help of nurse practitioners they are able to do preventative health care, give immunizations, run labs, vision and hearing screenings and physicals. Their mission is to keep students in school and focused on their studies. The center even goes beyond physical needs, treating the whole child.

"I kind of just needed someone to talk to and vent and so when I heard about the counselor here I came and I talked to her and it just helped a lot," said Grant High School student Courtney Smith. 

When bullying got out of hand in 8th grade, Smith visited the center's clinical social worker. Together they started Grant's anti-bullying program, which Smith continues to help with now in her senior year. 

"Teaching other kids about how bullying is wrong, but it's not just for the victims of bullying," Smith said. "It is also for the bully itself and we kind of want to teach that the bully could have stuff going on as well." 

The week long event includes dress up days, poster decorating , a school-wide assembly and information about visiting with the center's social worker Monica Chelette.

"The regular school counselors in our schools are mainly academic, they focus more on schedules, getting them ready to go to college," Chelette said. 

She said the center is here to talk about bigger issues like depression and suicidal thoughts. "Our focus is on the mental health needs and making sure they have a place to talk about what is going on with them," Chelette said. "So they can focus more and be more successful in school." 

It's a resource Smith hopes other students take advantage of. "I feel like I gave anti-bullying a voice here especially in Grant Parish," Smith said. "I hope I inspired somebody else maybe at a different school and a different parish to go on and do the same thing."