New SAP counselor runs with fresh ideas


Student Assistance Program (SAP) counselor Sheri Werner said, “SAP is the Student Assistance Program. I’m here full time and Ms. Freeman is here Tuesdays and Thursdays.” Graphic by: Kendall Garcia

An inside look at the Student Assistance Program (SAP) room and the new SAP counselor

Sheri Werner is a new full-time Student Assistance Program (SAP) counselor as of the 2022-2023 school year. Before working at Ventura High School, she worked in Los Angeles as a principal for twenty-four years. 

“My favorite part of working in a school is actually talking with kids and hanging out with kids. It’s a lotta lotta lotta work, and I did it for a lotta lotta lotta years,” said Werner.

The SAP room is made specifically for the students of Ventura High School. It is available to students at all times,  not only during break and lunch but also during class time. 

Werner said, “What we do is we help students who are referred to us by their counselors, teachers or friends. They’re students that are referred to us and need some sort of emotional support or they’re struggling with emotional or mental health issues and they need some help with that. Since we’ve come back to school there are a lot of kids struggling with anxiety, not wanting to go to class or they are afraid to go to class or they are really sad dealing with both depression and anxiety. They are not motivated and haven’t been to school in a while.”

The SAP room (pictured) has tables to talk to counselors or take a mental health break, throughout the day. Graphic by: Kendall Garcia

Rain Geronnimo ‘25 said, “[The SAP room] is very comforting. I do [recommend visiting the SAP room]. It can be a place to just calm down and it helps.”

There are more options than just going to the SAP room alone. The SAP room offers many different support groups for different kinds of students. SAP support groups are created based on student needs. Groups are created relative to student demand.

“We talk to kids individually but also run a lot of groups, our groups should be starting at the end of October or [the] beginning of November. We have a bunch of different groups that kids can join; groups for things like anxiety and depression, anger, drugs and alcohol, grief, self-esteem and  LGBTQ,” said Werner. 

Joining any of these groups is possible by either going to the SAP room or any teacher or trusted adult on campus to help join the desired group. Dates for the groups are posted through VHS’s weekly announcements. Groups currently running include drugs and alcohol Oct. 18 during period six, grief Oct. 18 during period four, and LGBTQ Oct. 20 during periods three and five. Groups with dates to be determined are anxiety, depression, anger and self-esteem.

Werner said, “We want kids to know that [we run these groups]. Kids can come here [during] nutrition and lunch. [The SAP room] is open to everyone.” Photo by: Kendall Garcia