The Quincy School District’s new board member Liliana Garcia would like to promote mental health.
Garcia was appointed to the school board on Feb. 25 by a unanimous vote and sworn in on March 10. Garcia has lived in Quincy for the past 10 years and has two children in the Quincy School District, a 12-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl, she said. She works for the Inspire Development Center as a School Resource Liaison helping low-income and high risk families prepare their children for public education. She has also taught pre-school.
“But I have a special bond with Quincy since one of my children was born here in Moses Lake and the other one started school here,” Garcia said. “I am thankful for all the things I’ve (received) here in Quincy and for all the warm-hearted people I have encountered.”
One of the major issues Garcia would like to work on as a school board member is mental health, she said. She experienced anxiety and depression herself about two years ago and it helped her think about how people are dealing with mental health.
“There are not a lot of mental health professionals around here,” Garcia said. “So we have to find our own ways to cope and to find outreach for social support from the community.”
An option might be for students to create self-help groups within the schools, she said. It could also involve activities like meditation and mindfulness.
“Research shows that spirituality and mindfulness practices help a lot with coping with anxiety, depression and coping with post traumatic stress disorder and high levels of stress,” Garcia said.
She also will bring valuable insight on the board as a Hispanic, she said. Quincy schools contain a large percentage of Hispanic students, who can face challenges as English may not be their first language.
“But a population with a different maternal language, that’s a barrier for our community, that is something that doesn’t quite make us whole,” Garcia said.
Her experience teaching preschool will also be valuable, she said. She realizes the importance of early childhood education, reading to children and stimulating their interest in learning.