Brain Recess: Games, Art, Journals, and More

Amazon Wishlist if you'd prefer to purchase items directly to support this endeavor. 

Hey, my name is Kimberly.

I work as a social worker at a high school just outside of Portland, Oregon. As we all know, March 2020 changed everything. We were at school on a Thursday just before spring break and went home that Friday not knowing when we'd return to "normal."
These days, we have returned to in-person learning full-time 5 days a week with 7 40-50 minute periods. It's has been a struggle. Students went from a very different routine, at home, with 4 classes on a schedule that allowed them some extra sleep to a very intense and demanding schedule with minimal ramp-up.
During the school day, there are five minute breaks between class periods and a brief 30 minute lunch period. This is the only time students' (and teachers') brains have to take a physical and mental break. It's also the only time they have to see friends, use the restroom, refill a water bottle, check in with family via phones, or think about what else they have to do next.
They're overwhelmed, tired, exhausted, and most of all, they are impacted by 2020 with nowhere to pause and process.
As a mental health professional in an education setting, my vision is to offer a "brain recess" each time a student enters my office. Most of my work is related to acute mental health concerns such as spikes in anxiety, panic, depression, PTSD, and working with young people experiencing thoughts of suicide. There is very little time in my day to offer preventative work. When I do class presentations, I hear students constantly asking for a break and expressing how much they miss recess or how they miss being able to have any sort of down time.

A brief look at the research can tell us what this is doing to their nervous systems and ability to manage stress or regulate their emotions.  To save you the research, it is pushing them to their limits and we all know what it feels like to be at our limits as adults.  As a teen, it feels similar, but more overwhelming in some ways because you may not yet have the skills or access to coping strategies such as taking a drive to listen to music, taking sick days from work, or having control over how you spend your time, money, or energy to better set yourself up for a calmer schedule.  
Brain recess will be a once a week "down time" where students can come to journal, to play tabletop games, to connect with peers in positive ways, and to reset and pause from the world of ever-expanding demands and expectations. Help me make this a reality by donating to help me offer board games, art supplies, journals, snacks, and thank you's to volunteers who can make this possible.
This is a vision I've had since early 2021 and 'tis the season to make wishes come true. Thank you for considering supporting the students I work with. Any extra proceeds will help support and sustain this initiative and allow me to help students take a break, pause, and recover from the waves they rode throughout the pandemic.
This generation has grown up in an ever-changing world and it's time we give them a break and a pause.
  • Timothy J walker 
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
  • Mark Kelly 
    • $666 
    • 8 mos
  • Jennifer R Frankamp 
    • $30 
    • 8 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $15 
    • 8 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $9 
    • 8 mos
See all


Kimberly Louvin 
Portland, OR