Positive Potential, a program put on by A Positive Approach to Teen Health, Inc. (PATH), is the highlight of the day for some of Washington Elementary’s 5th and 6th grade students. Children ran into the school’s multi-purpose room to take their seats with their ‘high-low groups’ and Liv.True mentors.
“Students enjoy having a caring adult listen to them,” said Brian Harvey, PATH Project Director of Programs, regarding ‘high-low time’. “They all like to talk.”
High-low time takes place at the start of every session. Students are situated in groups of four or five with their Liv.True college mentor. They each get to discuss their personal highs and lows of the week. This self-reflection helps the students to learn a little about themselves and gives them time with adults who will listen to them, which is something that not all of the PATH students get at home.
Positive Potential at Washington meets every Friday. The students who participate in the program were hand-selected by the principal as students who would benefit most from the extra attention and work. These are often students who struggle academically and behaviorally.
After about 10 minutes of high-low time, the students organize themselves for the next activity. This varies from week to week and can be a game, video or lecture. The topic discussed also changes every week and has included: aggression replacement, self-worth, bullying, peer pressure, relationship violence, social media and meditation. After the activity, the students get back into their groups with their mentors to discuss what they learned and how it made them feel.
According to Brian, students who participate in the program exhibit growth in a number of areas, including their grades and classroom behavior. Additionally, they learn coping skills and how to have trusting, positive relationships.
“These kids are great kids,” said Liv.True Mentor for Young Youth and Ivy Tech – Valparaiso student Kelsey Harvey. “People may label them, but they are so loving. You just have to get to know them.”
To learn more about the Positive Potential program in East Chicago schools, visit www.FoundationsEC.org.