2 schools in the same K-12 district, 1 day. Thank you Freeport Schools for having us.
A ton of learning bringing programs to different age levels…learnings we want to share, hoping it helps others – to hear abt what K-12’ers are going thru, & what resonates.
First, we only had 1hr & 30min as opposed to 2hrs at the college level. That’s a lot of info to share in a short period of time. Second, attention spans are certainly shorter w K-12 students than they are for college students (even after a full day of courses/practices).
All of that said…w the time constraints & challenges to maintain focus, we learned this: for middle schoolers & HS’ers, when you create safe spaces by sharing your vulnerabilities first, they crave the opportunity to open up & discuss & ask questions abt their own MH.
Yes we knew this abt the college kids. But the folks who questioned deep-dive programs in K-12 wondered if these students are “ready” for these convos at such a young age. Let me boldly say – they’re not just ready, they NEED it. Dr. Jenn Hartstein, Prim Siripipat, Eric Kelly, & Johane Ligonde were WOWED by the # & types of questions students asked:
In middle school most of the questions were abt fitting in. Many abt how you can still be a leader if you’re not doing the “cool” thing. Questions abt how to be a role model even when you’re dealing w your own “stuff.”
At the HS, the questions were more abt what to do when friends don’t believe you that you’re going thru a challenge bc they can’t physically see it, & who to talk to when you feel like even the ppl closest to you aren’t supportive.
Bottom line, these kids/students are craving this info/these convos & we owe it to them to bring it to them w more of these Sit-Downs. Special thanks to our partner, the Sophia Valsamos Foundation for their support & attendance, & Advocate, Allie Week’s, for attending. Lots to learn from today, lots that confirmed our hypotheses, lots to improve, but most importantly lots of optimism we can change/save many lives all over the country/world in K-12 w these talks.