It's time to make things better.
Today's teens face extraordinary pressures from all sides. They're expected to excel in school and sports. They constantly compare themselves with their peers and celebrities on social media. They are subject to cyber-bullying. They might have family issues, like divorce or illness or abuse. They struggle with depression and anxiety.
And the ways teens deal with these issues often compound the problem: substance abuse, eating disorders, cutting, gang membership, and more. Developing key social emotional competencies -- self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making -- falls by the wayside.
We need better ways to help our kids. Parents know lecturing doesn't work. Teens know it's hard to ask for help. Administrators know the social and emotional health of their students is critical to learning.
Community Youth Summits began when students and parents decided to work together to help themselves, each other, and their community. Throughout the school year, a committee of students identified issues that mattered to them and partnered with parents to find area experts. The work culminated in an event during the school day that shared information, fostered discussion, and brought lasting change.
Every Community Youth Summit has at least one story of a student asking the counseling department or presenter for additional help. Here's one:
This is the story of two high school friends who both have eating disorders. The older friend graduates, goes off to college, but stops attending as her eating disorder consumes her life. And she dies.
A year later, her parents ask the high school to organize a Youth Summit in her memory. At the end of the Summit sessions, the head of the counseling department reports that the younger friend is missing.
But before the end of the day, the girl returns. She asks to be admitted to an inpatient program for her eating disorder. She chooses to not follow in her friend’s footsteps. She chooses life.
It's time to bring a Community Youth Summit to your school.
And now you can. Community Youth Summit Founder Bekki Sims has developed a detailed Toolkit and Online Learning Community to help you to plan a successful Summit at your School. Click here to learn more.