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SPIRITED ’21 – Meeting the Challenges

Dear Supporters and Friends,

Our schools have become front page news across America. Unfortunately, most of that news is not good: students suffering from pandemic-related learning loss and Social Emotional trauma, school board show-downs over mask mandates and Critical Race Theory, educator burn-out and substitute teacher shortages. As SPIRIT SERIES returned to the classroom this fall, we experienced the headlines first-hand…and something more—something that has gone largely unreported—a powerful urge to make community with one another, overcome our challenges together, and find meaning in adversity.

Amid all the PCR tests, last minute schedule changes, Zoom sessions and quarantines, one constant holds true. Whether we are on-campus or live-streaming into classrooms; doing our drama-based program in grades four through seven, or our new story-based curriculum in grades seven through ten—SpiritCorps—the SERIES has been an unqualified success thus far this school year!

Why? We believe the answer is simple yet profound: we humans are social. No matter what divisions may seem to separate us, we thrive when we join together for a common purpose. It feeds our spirit. And when we share stories with one another, remember what it means to be human by finding ourselves in the experience of another, we make meaning out of our lives. For a moment at least, we transcend our differences and feel less alone.

That’s why our mission seems more important today than it ever has in the program’s 20-year history. Thanks to our school partners and generous donors, old and new, SERIES programming is already near capacity for the 2021-22 academic year. The strategic transformation to online curricula that began last year is now well underway as we make ready to launch a new five-year plan in July 2022. And, as always, we remain deeply grateful to you! This work simply would not be possible without your ongoing support.

Our heartfelt thanks!

Leslie & Richard Strauss

p.s. And now, you can actively join us as we tend to the spirit of our students in school communities across America: become a SpiritCorps Story Coach Volunteer. Together We Grow!

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