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November 10, 2020

A Conversation on Inclusion, Cooperation and Self-Esteem: Recap & Resources

This post recaps our recent National Bullying Prevention Month panel - part of Healthier Generation’s Kohl’s Feeling Healthy at Home Virtual Wellness Series. You can watch a recording of the panel here.

On October 27, Healthier Generation teamed up with Kohl’s to host a 30-minute conversation with youth engagement experts from America’s Promise Alliance, the National Children’s Campaign and Think Together to share best practices to help nurture kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. 

Check out the highlights from the chat to find out what we learned from our three panelists about supporting young people during this challenging time. (We’ve included timestamps for reference so you can follow along with the panel recording). Then, explore the resource list below to bring these ideas to life. 

 

Question 1: for David Anderson, General Manager for Southeast Los Angeles, Think Together [10:14] 

So many things are happening at the moment impacting student physical and mental health. What advice would you give families and educators to help young people feel connected to each other and adult allies in their life? 

Quote to remember: “Your best is enough.” 

Key themes: 

  • Out-of-school time leaders were doing essential work before COVID-19 and continue to do so now. 
  • Acknowledge that our priorities have had to shift from academics to wellness and social-emotional well-being and that is ok. Young people should be reassured that “doing their best” right now is key. 
  • Communication and transparency among educators and adults are essential; checking-in with yourself and others regularly must be a priority. 
  • Integrate strategies like deep breathing and mindful moments to staff meetings. 
  • Even with the increase of digital learning, there are opportunities, like e-sports, for young people to connect with each other that provide social-emotional benefits. 

 

Question 2: for Diana Fernandez, Youth Representative, National Children’s Campaign [17:00] 

As a youth organizer, what advice would you give to adults who want to help young people feel confident, supported and heard right now?  

Quote to remember: “It’s OK to be struggling right now.” 

Key themes: 

  • All of us, adults and young people, are adjusting and balancing many things right now – work, activism and learning – all while trying to feel a sense of normalcy. 
  • Even though adults are trying to support youth during this challenging time, they must also acknowledge their own feelings of being overwhelmed, uncertain and scared. 
  • Our situations are all different, and it may sometimes feel like we’re speaking different languages, but “we’re all doing the best we can.” 
  • Adults should know that young people do need support and reassurance to know what they’re doing matters; we’ll get through this year and that everything will be OK. 
  • Having and building a support group is important. Adults should recognize a lot happens behind closed doors; asking how young people are and how you can help is key. 

 

Question 3: for Kiara Battle, Director of Youth Engagement, America’s Promise Alliance [21:50] 

America’s Promise Alliance report, The State of Young People during COVID-19, sheds light on how disconnected young people felt this summer. Tell us a little about the research and what resources are available to help foster the inclusion of young voices. 

Quotes to remember: “Being a caring adult is cool.” and “We have to check our adultism.” 

Key themes:  

  • Since their school buildings closed, young people’s levels of concern about the present and future have increased, and indicators of overall health and wellbeing have suffered. 
  • An important reflection an adult can ask themselves right now is “Thinking about my high school self… how would I be doing during a pandemic?” 
  • We have to accept children aren’t going on as normal right now even if that’s the expectation. It is hard to focus on school when you’re worrying about staying healthy and paying bills. 
  • The increase in digital learning and social media doesn’t necessarily mean young people feel connected.  
  • Just because children can’t vote, doesn’t mean they don’t have opinions. Children need space for genuine meaningful conversations with caring adults. That conversation should be about the child, not the adult. 

 

More Resources to Explore and Share 

5 Ways to Foster Social-Emotional Skills – this 1-page resource provides simple ways adults can help foster skills like cooperation and responsible decision-making in children and teens. 

Sharing Our Stories: Family Conversations for Social-Emotional Health – this short article highlights key communication strategies and conversation starters for boosting resilience by sharing stories across generations. 

At-Home Feel Good Plan - this step-by-step guide helps children and teens identify stressful feelings and address them with healthy, calming strategies. 

Family Engagement is Social-Emotional Health - this 30-minute recorded webinar overviews the key role of family engagement in fostering social-emotional health and shares strategies to effectively communicate with families during this time. 

 

Daniel Hatcher

Director, Community Partnerships
Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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