The average American 12-year-old spends between 4.5 and 6.7 hours each day in front of a screen. Countless studies debate whether this is a symptom or the cause of a deepening crisis: loneliness and isolation. Either way, the statistics are harrowing: since 2010, the number of tweens and teens reporting “feelings of exclusion” has increased by over 35%; suicide rates for middle school girls are up by an astounding 70%; fully half of sixth grade students report they have been the target of bullying in the past 30 days alone! What we see in the classroom each day confirms just how starved young people are for a sense of belonging, heartfelt human contact, and community. These are among the greatest gifts SPIRIT SERIES has to offer…
Our fourth annual end-of-year update — SPIRITED ’18 — is filled with good news: a major programming milestone in the SERIES history; more quantitative evidence of the curriculum’s success; the launch of our new professional development program, SPIRITWORKS. Your support has made these achievements possible and our hearts are filled with thanks for your ongoing generosity. The two stories of transformation and community, below, are emblematic of hundreds from the past year. We hope they shine some light on the healing power of human connection, and the vital importance of providing our kids with a chance to build bridges to one another at a critical crossroads in their lives.
Your generosity has now given the SPIRIT SERIES experience to nearly 50,000 students — one child, one classroom, one school at a time. The value of your investment can now be verified by two years of compelling data that prove the program’s efficacy. And yet, as these stories attest, the greatest impact of this work is often unquantifiable. Our children need us, now more than ever. Thank you for helping them discover their shared humanity with your generous support!
Leslie & Richard Strauss Co-Directors, SPIRIT SERIES INC.
p.s. Our cohort — ages 9 to 14 — remains, in the words of Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism, “…the most fruitful time to turn pessimistic children into optimistic ones.” With your gift, we can seize this precious chance to lift the spirit of America’s kids!
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