Resources to Support Young People in Turbulent and Uncertain Times
by School's Out Washington | | Posted under
This resource list is available as a downloadable PDF.
Young people from all backgrounds experience a range of emotions during turbulent and uncertain times. They are required to navigate deep feelings, life-changing events, and challenging social interactions without trusted resources or information. We believe that Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO) play a key role in helping young people in these times.
We strongly encourage ELO programs to build staff competencies to create welcoming, safe, and inclusive environments where young people can share their feelings without fear and with opportunities to build skills. It is important for program managers and directors to appropriately train and prepare staff to guide these conversations. These emotions or situations may be occurring without staff awareness or acknowledgement. The resources below can help focus training or conversations for your staff. We have included general best-practice resources, as well as topic-specific resources.
- Program Quality. We encourage programs to review and revisit the framework of high-quality programming (as measured in the Youth Program Quality Assessment from the David P. Weikart Center available here). As you prepare for conversations with youth, consider how you create Safe and Supportive Environments, focus on peer Interaction, and create opportunities for Engagement through decision-making, planning, choice, and reflection.
- Social Emotional Learning. Programs can extend their program quality conversation into Social Emotional Learning, as described by the “Preparing Youth To Thrive: Promising Practices for Social & Emotional Learning” framework. You can download the “Assessing SEL Practices” tool here to help your program staff shape activities that create spaces for young people to grow (the tool starts on page 7 of the .pdf)
- Teaching Tolerance. Program staff can access activities organized by type, topic, anti-bias domain, and grade level. These activities can help young people engage with their own emotions and experiences – as well as those of their peers – through structured & supportive activities. Resources here.
- Structural Racism and Youth Development. This publication from the Aspen Institute describes the problem of structural racism, particularly as it relates to youth, and highlights implications for youth development work. This resource can help program staff develop common language for conversations in this area. Resource here.
- Know Your Rights. All young people have rights. This resource from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) can help your program find topic-specific information for your staff or young people.
Immigration Law Help. Many programs serve young people who have questions or concerns about their immigration or citizenship rights. Washington State has several agencies whose programs help young people and their families connect to information and resources. Learn more here.
Trauma-Informed Approach. Many young people experience a wide range of trauma. There are specific interventions and clinical services that respond to specific traumas. Programs should refer youth to qualified local programs or professionals for specific needs. Broadly, programs can train staff to recognize the signs of trauma, and to become grounded in some of the common terminology of the approach. The Trauma Informed Approach is described by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as “A program, organization, or system that is trauma-informed, which (1) Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for recovery; (2) Recognizes the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, families, staff, and others involved with the system; (3) Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and (4) Seeks to actively resist re-traumatization." Resources and details can be found here.
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