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Look for the Good Project is a Nonprofit Organization which Provides Social Emotional Learning Programs to K - 6 Schools

This summer, we revamped all of our programming to specifically tackle the trauma of the pandemic and the social unrest associated with it. Scroll down to learn how our trauma-informed programming helps kids (and their grownups) process the toxic stress of the pandemic together.

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We're All Experiencing Toxic Stress

 

Toxic stress is strong, frequent, or prolonged stress which dysregulates a person's biochemistry, triggering a cascade of symptoms including difficulty sleeping/eating, increased anxiety, paranoia, aggression, and hyperactivity. For children who don't have a healthy adult to consistently care and comfort them, the impact of toxic stress is far worse. Unable to calm down with a healthy adult, the child's stress response goes into overdrive and floods their body with stress hormones. Unchecked, this stress gets locked in their body as trauma which negatively impacts their physical and mental development, and has lifetime consequences on their health. Before the pandemic, about half the population of children in the United States had been suffering from some form of childhood trauma. Now, with the pandemic being a primary source of toxic stress, 100% of children worldwide are at risk... which is why the presence of a healthy adult is so important. This powerful video was created by Liv McNeil, a 15 year old student experiencing the quarantine in Canada.

Childhood Trauma Statistics

Forced Positivity Compounds Toxic Stress And Makes It Harder to Heal

If we try to pretend a stressful situation isn't happening by forcing or faking positivity, we disallow ourselves to feel the full range of human emotion and deny our real experience. Since this significantly reduces our resilience to trauma, it's essential to lean into ALL emotions and accept that negative emotions are normal and natural too, and can actually help protect us.

To learn more about the wise and protective qualities of negative emotions, check out the work of researcher Karla McLaren, our inspiration behind Permission to Panic and "Look for the Good School."

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Kids Need a Secure Relationship with at Least One Healthy Adult to Buffer Against Toxic Stress

According to Harvard University's Center on the Developing Child, the single most common factor in children who are resilient to toxic stress is one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult. They state that "these relationships provide the personalized responsiveness, scaffolding, and protection that buffer children from developmental disruption. They also build key capacities—such as the ability to plan, monitor, and regulate behavior—that enable children to respond adaptively to adversity and thrive."

Be That Healthy Adult Who Makes The Difference

Our Programming Encourages Kids to Build Strong Bonds With Safe Adults Who Make Them Feel Like Sunshine  

We help kids identify "Sunshine People" in our Gratitude Campaign Program so that they can write a letter of thanks to them. Watch Paul share his experience at Doolittle Elementary School in Cheshire, Connecticut:

 

 

Our Primary Goal is to Help School Communities Build Resilience to the Toxic Stress They're Experiencing Right Now. 

 

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Meet Our Program Developers

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Anne Kubitsky

Lead Writer, Designer & Animator

"I know this content works because I needed it. I left a long-term relationship at the beginning of 2020 and then spent 6 months in total isolation because of the pandemic. By the time I started writing, I couldn't ignore my own human needs anymore nor the uncomfortable feelings that were broiling in reaction to the news and my own personal situation. With the help of Tess Morrison, Amy Yost, Kari Yacawych, and Kari's daughter Rylee, we got 4 books written and published in just 5 weeks, and now have a whole new curriculum to offer to schools and families. Having integrated some of the social emotional content into my own life, I am also feeling better and have made a lot of positive changes. Look for the Good School is as much for kids as it is for their parents, since many adults never learned these skills. The content offers a fresh perspective on emotions and is informed by pioneering researchers and practitioners in mental health and trauma recovery. Enjoy the materials, and I hope they help you as much as they've helped me."

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Tess Morrison

Writer, Editor & Voice Actor

"This time is showing us all of our frayed edges, our list of denials and priorities, and overwhelm in the unknown. Our emotions are bubbling up and are no longer contained by 'normal.' My pull to this project comes from a deep need to build bridges using self-awareness. After decades of inner work, the only way I have found to connect the inner awareness we all have to our everyday is through how we feel. We have not created a common language or a simple way to understand our emotions. Instead we have become increasingly reactive. This is my attempt, with Anne’s clarity and focus, to begin to remedy that."

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Amy Yost

Writer, Editor & Curriculum Developer

"With over twenty-five years in education as a classroom teacher and administrator, I have worked with children from all economic and cultural backgrounds.  Although children may have different opportunities due to their economic status, the common thread is that children and adults need to feel safe and heard. As part of my core belief, I have always strived to foster the development of the whole child and multiple intelligence. To spark risk-taking, one must feel safe, supported and loved. Success and achievement comes when we can regulate these emotions in a productive manner. I was fortunate to meet Anne and the Look for the Good Campaign over 5 years ago. This work confirms my convictions that when we are in a positive state, our minds are open to more opportunities and adventures. I want my students to know that no matter how grim a situation appears, gratitude and regulated emotions will create limitless possibilities. Raising three young adults at home is challenging at times. My husband and I have worked hard to raise confident, kind individuals. My hope is that these inner beliefs guide my children to approach the challenges life bestows on them with grace, resilience and grit. Sunshine is always around the corner!

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Kari & Rylee Yacawych

Writer, Editor, Videographer & Curriculum Developer

"This past summer, I worked with Anne and my school principal, Amy Yost, to create the workbooks for the Gratitude Campaign Program. Since my teaching experience has been in elementary schools, I was comfortable working on the grade 2 - 4 workbook first and then made modifications for grades K - 1. I didn’t really have experience with grades 5 - 6, so that was going to be last. As I opened the grades 5 - 6 document, I looked up from my computer at the couch across from me, and realized that my daughter, Rylee, had just finished grade 5 and was now going into grade 6. She would have some experience I could use! As we went through each page of the book, I remembered when we started distance learning back in March. When Rylee needed help with her work, I would ask her to move over a little so I could see her computer. Although she seemed fine, I could hear her breathing increase as we sat close, because her anxiety level was rising. She was holding up on the outside, but her shallow, quick breathing was telling me otherwise. I am so happy we were able to create these resources for students. Now that she has the Toolkit in the back of the workbook, she will be able to identify how she is feeling and find ways to self-regulate."

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Jeff Almquist

Animator

"I really believe in what Anne and her team are doing, particularly  around gratitude as I struggle with finding the good myself... especially in these challenging times. As a child I had a very difficult time adjusting emotionally to the elementary school atmosphere and wish I’d had a program like Look for the Good available to me at that age. As an animator it’s also fulfilling just being part of a project that will have such a direct impact on the well being of its audience.“

Want to Support Us?

Meet One of Our Youngest Donors

After learning about the Look for the Good Project in kindergarten, Lucy started completing acts of kindness in her community. Now, ten years old, Lucy has started her own recycling club, picked up hundreds of pounds of trash, volunteered at animal shelters, and raised enough money to sponsor a program at Pitkin Elementary School! 

 
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