Vermont Afterschool Inc. launched a state-wide initiative in 2017 designed to enhance social-emotional learning (SEL) and resilience for children and youth. Our work has mostly focused on professional development for afterschool providers and youth development workers, with a trauma-informed lens.
Here are some of the highlights of our SEL work over the past few years:
- Bringing an evidence-based SEL curriculum called PATHS to afterschool sites across the state. From 2017-2018 Vermont Afterschool supported 16 afterschool programs around the state in a pilot effort in implementing SEL growth strategies among children, staff, and families.
- Providing training and one-to-one coaching to increase frontline staff competence in therapeutic behavior management and trauma-informed practices.
- Facilitating and co-hosting family outreach events focused on social and emotional learning and adverse childhood experiences.
- Facilitating communities of practice for leadership-level staff to increase staff knowledge and skill in addressing toxic stress among the youth and families they serve in Chittenden, Windsor, and Orange counties.
- Coordinating regional trainings and collaboration opportunities to connect out-of-school programs with community partners including medical and mental health providers, community justice centers, and social service agencies.
- Providing training on Basic Specialized Care. Vermont Afterschool offers Basic Specialized Care twice a year as part of the Afterschool Essentials program, although attendance is not limited to only Afterschool Essentials participants. Approximately, 25-30 people receive this training through Vermont Afterschool each year.
- Offering in-depth learning strands at our annual conference. For the past three years, Vermont Afterschool has included a full-day learning strand on social emotional learning and trauma-informed practices at our annual statewide afterschool conference.
- Offering a 10-week training series for foster and kinship parents and afterschool professionals together based on understanding developmental trauma. Participants gained essential skills for increasing regulation skills in children and youth and understanding best practice for brain-based behavior support.
Youth Resiliency Project
Vermont Afterschool’s Youth Resiliency Project is focused on supporting afterschool and out-of-school time programs and professionals in helping children and youth to build resilience and social emotional learning (SEL) skills. This project fits into our larger SEL work with specific goals designed to create lasting culture change:
- Increase competency across the region so that more afterschool, summer, and out-of-school time programs are trauma-informed;
- Create a Leadership Institute for Resilience in Afterschool (LIRA) to empower peer experts in the field; and
- Establish networks of support for afterschool program sites so they build and sustain SEL best practices going forward via a communities of practice training model.
We are grateful to the Northfield Savings Bank Foundation for their support of the Youth Resiliency Project.
Lives in the Balance (Dr. Ross Greene’s approach)