Wednesday, November 18, 2015


“Training students in mindfulness demonstrates benefits including improvements in working memory attention, academic skills, social skills, emotional regulation, and self-esteem, as well as self-reported improvements in mood, decreases in anxiety, stress, and fatigue.” – John Mikleton, Mindful Magazine

ResilientKids is a Rhode Island based youth program aimed at serving elementary, middle, and high school students to reduce stress, facilitate learning and provide opportunities for personal growth. I had heard about ResilientKids previously but did not know what kind of work they did, or that it was a local program. Vanessa Weiner, the founder of ResilientKids, recognized the need for students to have positive opportunities to deal with stress, and that providing students with the tools and strategies needed to do so has a positive impact on students' emotional well being and academic success. From reading their website and watching their videos, I saw that ResilientKids is very hands-on, and has different methods and skills for various learners. For example, doing yoga and breathng exercises allows for physical learners to get up and move. Visual learners also benefit from a glitter jar that gets shaken up, and gives students a visual cue to relax themselves as the glitter settles.

What I took away from learning about ResilientKids is that they do not just come in and work with the students. They provide students with a toolbox to self-regulate and manage their own behaviors. Instead of being told to calm down, they are shown ways to calm themselves down if they are feeling anxious or upset. The students are learning skills that they can use throughout all areas of their lives.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Danger of a single story

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of my favorite speakers to watch on TEDtalks, and I got to watch this particular one in a social work class last week. She talks about the harm that only seeing things, like people, places, and communities, from one perspective, and how that forms prejudice and doesn't allow you to see "the whole picture". What I especially like about this TEDtalk is when Adichie talks about moving in with her roommate, who wants to hear her "tribal" music and wondered how she spoke English so well. Her roommate had already had an idea of what Adichie was like and had made assumptions about Nigeria. Her roommate seemed to be coming from a place of genuine interest and wanted to learn about Adichie, but in the process of only having one story of people from Nigeria made her prejudice against Adichie. In my social work class we discussed further that there are negative ad positive stereotypes, although all stereotypes are damaging and don't leave room for you to see someone's whole story.

A single story I have heard about youth is that the ones who act out at school are just bad kids who misbehave. This made me think back to reading Nakkula and Toshalis, and about Antwon and Ms. Peterson. She thought he was just disruptive and a trouble maker, but when she made a more personal connection and got to know him, she saw that he was having trouble with testing and she was able to have a positive impact on him. When you get one idea of someone if your head, it can stop you from seeing all of their strengths and potential.