An Ambassadors Perspective of Virtual Programming
With so many things switching to online, with so many youth being stuck behind a computer and losing the connection of reality with virtual reality, there has never been a larger need for Social Emotional Learning. In case you don’t know, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. And while it has to be taught virtually, through my own experience and through the youth that I have been able to impact, it still works. Being able to provide this service online doesn’t come without its challenges, yet the benefits are still the same. I’m seeing resilience, patience, and growth in the youth. I see them coming into their own power and using their voices to be heard, despite the new challenges they have to face. We are able to equip our students with the tools they need to empower themselves and those around them.
This program, these kids, have empowered me as a teacher on yet another level. I continue to learn from them as I teach them to continue to learn about themselves and others around them. Moving programming online has opened up more resources, such as powerpoints for discussions, yoga asanas, and games. We have been able to use Zoom breakout rooms to talk about partner and group work. Utilizing Google Classrooms as a hub for resources and further personal development for our students has been a highlight. Engaging more parental and adult participation in the aid of their children and youth has been something I wasn’t able to achieve in South Africa. This brings in the power of YOU and WE as we successfully implement a Yes We Can! Community Project in their community.
I am optimistic for the future of InnerConnected as they switch to US-based programming and virtual programming. I’ve known this program could be adapted and I’m honored to have been one of the first to help pave the way for future teachers to be able to implement. This program works, both in person and virtually. The topics of Social Emotional Learning can overcome any boundary and are imperative that our youth learn these skills, not only for themselves but for the future of our community, our world, and for the future of humanity.