The Whole Child Program

This year (2015), we are coordinating a pilot program, entitled the Whole Child Program, which addresses development of the Body, Mind and Heart. The program is working with Crockett Elementary School, K-6, 520 students.  This Balsz School District’s student population includes homeless, underserved and refugee students in transition. 
 
1. The Body segment will provide the basic needs for all students, such as food, clothing, hygiene, and school supplies items. 
 
In order to prepare these children for a successful day of learning, the basic items address their daily personal challenges that would directly impact their confidence, ability to learn and socialize with their peers.  Homelessness increases a child’s chance of experiencing hunger. The lack of a proper diet can be extremely harmful to children’s emotional and physical well-being, as well as their future health, development and academic achievement.  Nationwide, it is reported that one out of every five children do not eat enough and this inadequate nutrition contributes to their setbacks in education and emotional growth.  WK distributes food boxes to students and their families.
 
2. The Mind component will teach staff, teachers and students “Mindfulness” based life-skills to develop better cope with conflict, adversity and emotional triggers.
 
This will result in improved focus, better attendance, less referrals and detentions per class, develop personal values and enhance social skills.  These students suffer from depression, anxiety, aggression and display of emotional problems are more pronounced, as well as being taunted and teased at school.  These negative emotions can develop into suicide tendencies in this youth.  It is also reported that as they continue to live this lifestyle, there is an increase rate in school drop outs by age 16.  It is imperative that every child receive stability and support to succeed in life, and these children are far less likely to get either. Their lives are anything but stable, and many are exposed to domestic violence and chaos.  Mindfulness provides the ability to “check-in” rather than “check-out” with their situations.  WK creates a Mindfulness School environment for everyone on campus.
 
3. The Heart sessions will nurture the compassion, empathy and ability to “give back” through a service learning experience. 
 
With positive adult role models from community leaders and corporations, our children are able to develop better social skills, work on communication skills with adults and experience the rewards of completing a successful project for others.  The benefit for our children and the corporate volunteer is the ability “to connect with each other” and engage in a project that will make positive change in the community we live.  To fulfill our Worldly Kids value statement for our children “to experience a positive adult relationship”-- these sessions demonstrate the common thread that we all share in serving others, an essential part of becoming a leader of tomorrow.
 
(It is our goal to pilot the Whole Child Program with Crockett Elementary this year and expand the program to include additional schools next year. For the schools adopted by Worldly Kids, we will continue to provide resources of food, clothing, hygiene, school supplies and other resources for Title 1 schools that have those needs. The schools’ needs will be prioritized and offered on a regular basis, based on our available inventory.