Rachel Zarb

Rachel Zarb, a senior at Palm Harbor University High School, created the Personal Empowerment Club in December. All students can join and experience a judge-free zone where they can raise thoughts and concerns while also learning healthy study habits and stress management.

PALM HARBOR – Many communities lack school clubs that are a judge-free zone to help young students build self-esteem and improve study habits and stress.

Rachel Zarb, a senior at Palm Harbor University High School, created such a club in December. All students can join and experience a judge-free zone where they can raise thoughts and concerns while also learning healthy study habits and stress management.

Zarb, the president, said there is no club like this in her school. Most are academic and volunteer based.

“I wanted to give a club where anyone can join. A club for anyone where they don’t feel judged,” Zarb said.

Zarb got support for her idea from her friends.

She asked a teacher to sponsor the Personal Empowerment Club. The teacher then told her to speak to the assistant principal. The process took a couple of months, and once it was approved, Zarb and her friend began making flyers and putting them out around school.

The meetings of the Personal Empowerment Club are held in Kelly Webb’s room. She is a science teacher at Palm Harbor University High School and the club’s sponsor. The meetings are usually 30 minutes long and are the first Monday of every month.

During the meetings, Zarb starts off with a motivational YouTube video or similar programs.

Some of the topics discussed are self-confidence, study habits, peer pressure and ways to cope with self-doubt. The topics can get sensitive, but as of now they only dealt with surface level subjects.

Another way they start off the meetings is sharing a “happy and crappy.” Students go around sharing one happy thing and one bad thing that happened to them.

The members choose the topics that are covered for the meetings. The meetings are open; Zarb doesn’t like putting restrictions on the subjects. She wants her classmates to know that she’s here for them. That she has gone through experiences, too.

In the club, students learn healthy study skills. Kids learn self-motivation, non-procrastination and stress-relieving techniques. For Zarb stress-relieving techniques is helpful for her, too. “School gets you so stressed out. So, we need to learn healthy ways to relieve our stress and to take our worries and put them out into something good,” Zarb said.

Kids also learn self-confidence exercises. Zarb helps students learn there worth. In a few meetings peers would vent off and the other members would help them through the situations. They listen to one another to help solve each other’s problems.

Club members learn how to be more assertive. They re-enact situations and see where students possibly went wrong. They learn life skills and being more intuitive with one’s self.

Zarb believes the exercise skills helps the members realize the different steps they can take and different ways to resolve their problems.

There are no requirements or fee to join this club.

Zarb enjoys being president of the Personal Empowerment Club.

“I just like the idea of letting people be themselves, coming to me for help and sharing their insecurities so I can help them because I been through the same stuff every high schooler goes through,” Zarb said.