11 Mar
  • By Jess Prewett
  • Cause in

Finding Support in Sharing

When kids arrive at Minneapolis’ Southside Village Club, one of their first activities is to sit down as a group for daily circle time. Circle time is part of BGCTC’s efforts to increase social and emotional learning in all youth and teens we serve. Each day, youth have an opportunity to share how they feel about their lives and communities with Club peers and staff.
 
When asked about how they benefit from daily circle time, Southside Village Club youth expressed positive, healthy thoughts:
 
“We get to know each other better.”
“You don’t let the world get into your head.”
“If you had a bad day you can talk about it.”
“We can talk and express ourselves.”
 
Michael*, a 5th grader, participates in daily circle time with his peers at the Club. He has learned how to share feelings, think critically about emotions and behavior, and discuss tough issues facing Club youth and his community.
 
Michael says that circle time helps him calm down. “I can feel comfortable sharing,” he says. “When we go deep into conversations, it’s time to be personal… that’s when we have to be really serious. We have to think about how it feels to be in another person’s position.”
 
Michael believes circle time helps Club kids understand each other better, become closer, and focus on their futures. “We’re family. We stick together,” he says. “I trust everybody at the Club.”
 
He has also gained healthy perspective by learning that he must be intentional for his friendships to grow healthy and strong. “When we get mad at each other [at the Club], we hug it out or shake it out,” he explains. With the help of Club staff and programming, he has learned how to settle arguments quickly so he can move on and support his friends.
 
BGCTC’s goal is for ALL youth to grow into healthy young adults by learning to identify, understand, and manage their emotions. Over our past two years of focus on social and emotional learning activities, our Clubs have seen a 50% decrease in conflicts and behavior issues. Our programs are helping kids become stronger and healthier each day!
 
*Name changed for privacy reasons.