How might we equip kids entering 6th and 7th grades with methods to cope with the emotional challenges of junior high?
Launch was an event at the Boys and Girls Club of Ada County aimed at preparing 6th and 7th graders for the social and emotional challenges of junior high. Through the design thinking process the team looked at the many factors that lead to mental health challenges in kids. After speaking to several mental health professionals and reflecting on their own experiences, the team decided to take on the issue of “transition.” Many children face additional stress and anxiety during times of transition, whether to a new place or stage in life, and the additional emotional challenges can create or aggravate existing mental health issues if children don’t feel prepared. From this insight, Launch was born.
One Stone members shared personal stories from their junior high experiences and led activities relating to the themes of 1) positive self image, 2) building a support system, and 3) dealing with big emotions. Recipients created skits helping them practice how to handle real-life situations such as arguments with family members or friends, as well as wrote letters to their future selves full of advice, reminders, and encouragement. The event ended with an ice cream treat and reflections on how to make the transition into Junior High as easy as possible.
Words of reflection from the team:
“I was so impressed with the thought that the kids put into their future self letters.”
“I wish I had these tools when I was going into junior high.”
From the recipients:
“This event was really helpful. It’s nice to know other kids are having similar worries about what junior high will be like.”
One word reflections: