The article Adults play vital role in fostering resilience, healthy child development asks and answers the question, “Can we, as adults, bring positive experiences to children who are growing up with adverse experiences?”
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Community level plans for addressing poverty and education can overshadow that right now we, as individuals, can help children and families succeed.
The article notes, “Support is one of the major building blocks of success. Whether it’s family support, a caring school climate, or other supportive adults, research strongly suggests that just one caring, safe, adult relationship early in life gives any child a much better shot at growing up healthy and happy.”
We - schools, organizations, and individuals - have opportunities to lift students up with support to deal with adverse experiences, give them opportunities to see value in themselves, and build emotional strength to dull the piercing effects of poverty, trauma, and learning challenges. More simply put, a single relationship can shape or change the life trajectory of a person.
One of our EnCompass students perfectly characterizes the power of caring adults. He shared, “my teachers showed me that there is more to life than being bad and not going to school and staying on the streets. They showed me that they really care about me and I feel like I can do anything in the world. They can change more people or kids like me by just showing they care about us.” He had missed more than 80 days of school, but now goes every day.
The December 2016 “Side Conversations” hosted by Hillside Family of Agencies emphasized a similar theme: no child’s future is fixed and every single child has the ability and capacity for growth. It is our responsibility to forge meaningful relationships with children and families to help them achieve success. Keynote Brian Pete noted none of us are “done yet” and a panel of Rochester education thought leaders were asked, “when is the most critical time to support a child’s development?” All agreed that the time to intervene is always “now”- whenever we have the opportunity.
While we are not all teachers and parents positioned to be a child’s champion, we can all work to cultivate caring schools and afterschool programs, supportive community centers, and nurturing family households. These are where relationships that build resilience are formed.
By providing opportunities and partnerships that support healthy relationships, and connecting families and organizations with the support they need to succeed, Education Success Foundation invites you to consider the difference you can make in a child’s life. Join us in our work. Whether you’re a parent, teacher or neighbor, you can help create a positive, caring and nurturing environment. You have the power to help children grow up and reach their full potential.