Active Minds SMC Brings Therapy Dogs and Yoga for "Stress-Less Finals" Event

On a cloudy Thursday morning, the Active Minds club of SMC had set up their tent at the Santa Monica College (SMC) Quad on May 24. Between 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. students could try out a 15 min yoga session, a quick nap between classes, and pet the therapy dogs they brought to the event.

Active Minds is a national non-profit organization that supports mental health awareness and education for students. According to SMC chapter's advisor, Lina Ladyzhenskaya, they have about 450 chapters around the country, she says that the organization is dedicated to saving lives by opening up the conversation about mental health. A study made by the National Institute of Mental Health states that approximately 8 million people die every year due to mental illness.

The event focused on mental wellness and health. It included not only a short yoga session and quick naps for students to take part in before heading back to class, but also a table where you could make your own affirmation stones and scented bags. Self-care kits were handed which included a stress ball, bubbles, a notebook, and a little cuddly toy. “It’s all geared towards destigmatizing mental health, anxiety, depression and things like that," Ladyzhenskaya said. "And ways to take care of ourselves."

But what brought most students to the event were the two therapy dogs, Clayton and Mario. “The therapy dogs are here to reduce stress, and anxiety," Ladyzhenskaya said. "You pet a dog and you just feel better, and that is what the whole event is about."

Bob Cowan from Paws for Healing was also part of the event alongside Clayton. "We go out to various assignments to make people happy and take away their stress," he said.

SMC students Melissa Avina and Andrea Ostorga were two among many other students that stopped by the event to pet the dogs and make some affirmation stones. The stones had writing from different attendees, such as, “No one is me, and that is my power."

“It’s just like positive vibes everywhere, this is really nice," Avina said regarding the event.

According to Ladyzhensakya, Active Minds of SMC is a new club this semester that set up different events throughout the year with a focus on mental health. The club has only been active for three to four months. The club meets in the Counseling Complex Conference Room, on Thursdays, 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For inquiries on how to join, visit

Therapy dogs, free yoga, and goody bags help Santa Monica College students get through finals week, courtesy of the Active Minds of SMC Club. Music is "Ukulele" at Video footage by Helena Sung Video editing by Viktor Falck For The Corsair News