Cupertino’s Bobatino eases student stress


Chloe Lee

Seniors Christina Cui and Trinity Yue enjoy free drinks at Bobatino on Sept. 15 at Main Street Cupertino.

Chloe Lee, Art Editor

The crowd rushed toward the line as volunteers finally came back with another round of boba. As they sipped their drinks, students played the many games provided, including a Spikeball and giant Connect Four and visited the various booths centered around combating stress and improving mental health.

            Hosted by the City of Cupertino and the Cupertino Teen Commission, the first-ever Bobatino event was held on Sept. 15 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Main Street Cupertino in partnership with De Anza College, the Art of Living Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the LGBTQ+ Youth Space, the Adolescent Counseling Services and Caffeinated Letters. These organizations wanted to give students the opportunity to receive information from local resources on how to deal with stress and anxiety.

            “For the last couple of years, the Teen Commission has been bringing the conversation of youth mental health to the discussion table,” said Daniel Mestizo, a City of Cupertino Recreation staff member. “Bobatino is the latest effort to get local youth and teens to socialize, get a respite from stressors and find resources which can help them in their daily lives.”

            It took around eight months to plan Bobatino. The City of Cupertino and the Teen Commission worked together to work on the three main components of the event: collaborations with their partners, the logistics of the event and securing boba orders.

“We definitely thought this was a very important event targeting youth, and we wanted to make sure that youth had information on stress, depression and anxiety because it is such a real thing that’s happening in their lives today,” said Amy Aken, a Kaiser Permanente representative. “We wanted to make sure that we were here to support everyone and provide information. We also liked how a lot of the people took the free swag that we brought, such as the lip balm, frisbees and even the spa water recipe.”

            The City of Cupertino invited community members to host activities at the event, which included field hockey and a giant Connect Four.

“The City of Cupertino saw our [calligraphy and other work] at Bitter + Sweet cafe and invited us to do this lettering booth as a way for students to de-stress,” said Caffeinated Letters founder Jessica Liao. “A lot of our community members use lettering as a way to release stress and use the power of words to connect deeper to themselves and to help whatever process they’re going through in life.”

Nevertheless, due to the high number of attendees, volunteers had to constantly go to nearby boba shops to buy more boba.

“It was kind of uneventful, as they kept running out of boba, so it took a while to get the advertised free boba,” said senior Christina Cui. “However, I liked the location because Main Street is a nice place to take pictures. After Bobatino, my friends and I were able to have a fun time taking pictures.”

Despite this complication, the event exceeded the City of Cupertino’s expectations, and the City of Cupertino is currently planning similar events.

            “I think that we will inevitably get more interest out there from the community, and I look forward to seeing what other organizations and people are willing to step forward and participate,” said Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul. “Continuing the event and engaging more potential participants will be the main driver of substantive improvements.”

Bobatino is just the start. The City of Cupertino is planning more events to help students combat stress and improve mental health. In the near future, residents of Cupertino can look forward to more activities to relieve stress and help with mental health.