MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — High school students from across the Rio Grande Valley gathered at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen to participate in a social-emotional retreat Tuesday morning.

Region One’s GEAR UP program hosted the retreat to promote social-emotional learning and wellness through activities such as meditation, yoga and painting.

GEAR UP is designed to increase the number of low-income students to enter and succeed in college and university.

“The students are going to be learning today is how to cope with anxiety, how to cope with stresses in their lives,” Wanda Perez, Region One GEAR UP Health Specialist said. “We brought them here because the are transitioning from middle school to high school.”

The retreat brought in 60 students from 15 different school districts, including Donna, Brownsville, La Joya, Lyford, McAllen, Mission, Rio Grande City Grulla, San Perlita, Sharyland and Valley View.

“Some of the things we’ve noticed going into school districts is that students don’t want to come to school, they want to stay home,” Perez said. “One of the things that I want the students to take out is we’re disconnecting to connect and be one with nature.”