We are clearly making progress in delivering resources locally to keep healthy kids healthy. This spring, two of our teen mentors focused their 'senior projects' on preventing depression and building resilience. Over 70 sophomore students benefited, with measurably improved knowledge and attitude. Kristina Ladd (pictured above) is from the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School (Devens, MA) and Alyssa Dole is from the Wellesley (MA) high school. You may read read more about their achievements in the article titled Senior Project.
An immediate problem is how to bring peer-to-peer education national? We are finding solutions by working through partners with a national presence:
- AWI was invited to facilitate workshops at their national conference by the national Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) organization. Our workshops are scheduled on the first morning of their conference, Sunday, June 23 (see article PIP, PIP Hooray!).
- Wellness content is also being provided for ages 9-15 through the 'virtual world' of Whyville (www.whyville.net).
-Bob Anthony, President
Did you know...
The Break Free From Depression curriculum manual and documentary is provided to everyone attending the free Train-The-Trainer workshops?
to register with Boston Children's Hospital:
Leveraging training and resilience activities
Alyssa Dole completed a remarkable senior project before graduating. She first received approval from Wellesley high school counselors to facilitate a depression prevention curriculum from Boston Children's Hospital with students in the sophomore class. After learning that Kristina Ladd was doing a related senior project (image above is from Kristina's presentation), Alyssa also received permission to invite co-facilitation by Kristina, a senior from the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School (Devens, MA). The two seniors delivered several sets of three session classes to teach over 70 students; the sophomores' post- test survey showed significant improvement in knowledge and attitude.
Alyssa was one of several teen mentors recognized earlier this year at the state house in Boston for leadership in suicide prevention. They had invested significant time with an AWI program for training and practicing activities that foster resiliency to prevent depression. Several seniors from that effort participated in interviews, edited into a two minute video by Tessie Connor. You may view the video at www.adolescentwellness.org/teen-igrow.
PIP, PIP, Hooray!
Using Creativity to Promote Resilience, Success, and Wellness
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) helps teens around the country with leadership skills and effective content for mentoring. Research indicates that problem solving is a critical skill in communication, education, social development, and academic success. It is also a valuable coping skill to promote mental health and wellness. AWI was invited by SADD to facilitate workshops on problem solving at their national conference. Our workshops are scheduled on the first morning of the conference, Sunday, June 23.
The PIP, Problems-Ideas-Plans, is a fun, creative tool for teaching problem solving skills. It is brief, engaging, and can be used by both children and adults in a wide range of settings. The PIP promotes decision making skills of social emotional learning, along with creative (divergent) and critical (convergent) thinking skills of 21st century learning. There is a direct link between the skills taught through the PIP and the emotional health skills needed to promote wellness in children and adolescents. These include:
* Importance of developing and examining multiple perspectives
* Withholding judgment and criticism in evaluating one's and others' ideas
* Promoting cognitive flexibility - generating many ideas and ways of thinking
* Promoting collaboration
* Use of creativity as it is defined by the individual
The PIP can be used in small or large groups, in classrooms, as part of extracurricular activities, and as part of individual skill building. AWI helped develop PIP for all those who are invested in children's emotional development: parents, educators, mentors, and friends. Learn the PIP and problem-solve any challenge, ranging from projects at work or simply to manage stress and anxiety.
How to enhance wellness skills and knowledge for ages 8-15?
The Northeast chapter of the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention helped fund development of the first activity added onto the wellness hub to promote resilience and protective factors within the popular children's chat and game site, Whyville (www.whyville.net). Volunteers will introduce it to schools, community groups and parent organizations.
The hub is the central virtual location for mental health and wellness related activities, materials and referral information. The designers of this wellness resource may be contacted directly at:
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP)
The Freedman Center for Child and Family Development
1 Wells Avenue
Newton, Massachusetts 02459
Margaret Hannah, M.Ed.
Office: (617) 332-3666, ext. 1295
Nadja N. Reilly, Ph.D.
Office: (617) 332-3666, ext. 1225
The people who make it happen; we are very grateful to the current AWI volunteers listed below:
- Bob Anthony - President
- Vivian Dole - iGROW
- Bill Russell - Director
- Anthony Schweizer - Chair
- Calvin Place - Director
- Chip Douglas - Director
- John Seeler - PIP documentation
- Kathy Curley
- Lisa Siegel
- James True
- iGROW teen mentors
- Youth Advisory Board members