Sources of Strength Week

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Sources of Strength Week

The Sources of Strength Week is designed to engage your school or community in a fun way with Sources of Strength and to get students and staff, talking about, engaging in, and developing their strengths and connections to others. Be creative in planning a Sources of Strength week that fits your school, community and culture. 

A typical Sources of Strength week will assign a strength to each day of the week: either choosing five of the eight strengths, assigning two strengths for three days of the week, or running the campaign over the course of two weeks.

Each day will focus on one of the strengths, in a variety of fun and engaging ways. You can use games, classroom presentations, photo booths, sidewalk chalk, art, posters, videos, school-wide activities, small group discussions, wall displays, social media posts and challenges, school announcements, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Tips for Preparation

  • Planning: Use one to two of your Peer Leader meetings to strategically plan and prepare for a Sources of Strength Week. Brainstorm all the activities you want to do and partnerships with other groups that you can use. Break Adult Advisors and Peer Leaders up into smaller groups to work on specific topics or activities. As you are planning, think about ways to engage as many students and staff as possible. 
  • Partnering with other groups, clubs, sports teams, activities, planning committees, and outside prevention agencies, can help you achieve the broadest reach and impact of the campaign. 

Some examples of ways to partner with other groups in your community:

    • If there is a video club at your school, invite them to help make Sources of Strength Week videos. There could be a promo video to get students excited about the week, as well as a video documenting the events of the week and the fun activities.
    • If there is a graphic design class, invite these students to participate in making posters with local faces and Sources of Strength messaging.
    • If there is a photography class, invite them to document the events of the week and help create great visual content for posters, social media posts, yearbook or school newspaper articles.
    • If you have a school newspaper, invite a few of their journalist to report on the run up to, as well as the events of the week, highlight hope, help, and strength. They can also detail resources and supports that are highlighted during the week.
    • Involve all the sports teams and clubs in a Healthy Activities day, highlighting the numerous healthy activities that are available in your school or community.  
    • Invite the Counselling, Mental Health staff, and psychology class(es) to participate in a Mental Health day, leading students in positive mental health practices and highlighting and connecting students and staff to mental health supports and resources that exist in your local community.
    • Connect with local service organizations that serve your community or school and invite them to participate in and support your Generosity day. Connect to and highlight existing efforts of generosity that are practiced in your school or community.
    • Engage your local newspaper agencies and invite them to write about and highlight the efforts of your Peer Leader team and the events of the week.
    • Engage local agencies that work with families and can help offer resources, content, and support for a Family Support day.
  • Fun: It is essential to ensure that the Sources of Strength Week is fun, engaging, and remains focused on Hope, Help, and Strength. We do this by coming up with relevant ways to infuse games and a general sense of playfulness and festivity into every activity that we do. Avoid making activities or presentations too serious or long, or ever slipping into lecture or one-way presentation mode. Instead, engage students and staff in dialogue and discussion, always ensuring that  your activities, social media posts, or challenges are pointed toward strength and help to highlight connection and resiliency. If done right, a Sources of Strength Week can quickly become the highlight of the school year calendar.   

Watch this video to hear about Sources of Strength Week from other Peer Leader Groups

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We want to see what you come up with! Tag Sources of Strength in your social media posts so we can check out all of your great activities. Use the hashtags #sourcesofstrength and #sourcesweek

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Getting the word out

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Now that you have completed Sources of Strength Peer Leader training, it’s time to start sharing Sources of Strength with the rest of your school and community. In your first planning meetings, your team should brainstorm ways to introduce Sources of Strength to your school. This can include:

Introducing your team
 
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Introducing people to the strengths on the wheel. Be creative. Photo booths, videos, large art installations or wall displays, classroom presentations, and social media are fun ways to share the strengths with your community. 
 
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Create a Sources of Strength social media page for your school. Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Name it SourcesofStrengh_YourSchoolsName or YourSchoolNameStrength. Pick a few Peer Leaders and Adult Advisors to be in charge of running the account. 
 
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Announcements about Sources and the strengths
 
  
 
 
An I Am Stronger Campaign is also a good way to share stories of strength and help students and staff reflect on their own strengths

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Thankfulness Challenge

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Studies have shown that practicing gratitude can have a huge impact on your life. The actual physical makeup of the brain changes and makes people more positive, joyful and content. One way to do this is as simple as writing down or journaling about 3 things you are thankful for every day for 21 days. A fun activity your Sources of Strength team can sponsor is a Thankfulness Campaign.

You can use our Thankfulness Journals, our Thankfulness Posters or create your own way to spread messages of gratitude in your school or community.

Watch this video for ideas to get started.

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Social Media: Everyday for 21 days, post 1 thing you are thankful for and hashtag #thankfulnesschallenge and #sourcesofstrength. You can also take photos of people with their Thankfulness posters and share them on your school’s Sources of Strength account.

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Videos: Create a short video with as many people as possible naming things they are thankful for. Watch this video for tips on how to make a great video. 

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Hallway Displays: Have as many students and staff as possible fill out Thankfulness posters. Use these posters to create a large wall display. Take a photo of your display and post it on your school’s Sources of Strength social media accounts. 

School-wide Activities: Brainstorm activities you can do to share messages of gratitude in your school. Use these activities as opportunities to pass out Thankfulness Posters and Thankfulness Journals. Collect the posters to use in a large wall display. Encourage students and staff to use the journals for a 21 day Thankfulness Challenge.

 

What Helps Me Campaign

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The What Helps Me Campaign is a powerful way to share stories of strengths in your community. This campaign focuses people’s personal stories of what strengths help them when dealing with the big three emotions – anger, anxiety/worry, and depression or feeling sad or down. Everyone struggles with at least one of these emotions. This campaign is about identifying which emotions you wrestle with the most and which strengths help you through it.

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 Watch this video for ideas on how to get started with a What Helps Me Campaign

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What gives this campaign power is if everyone in the school can get involved in a small group discussion, or a writing, art or video project. Getting everyone thinking about what are the things that help them with their emotions. Everyone wrestles with these emotions, and we want you to focus on collecting stories of help and strength. Here are some ideas of how to do that:

Video Project:

  • Get a number of the Peer Leaders and Adult Advisors to state “What Helps Me with ________ (emotion) is _________ (strength) and _________ (strength) and _________ (strength). Example: What helps me when I get too anxious or worried is playing my guitar, talking to my mom, and going for a run. Stories can be this simple or more detailed, as long as they remain strength focused and hopeful.
  • Link several of these video’s together (make sure to include adults), place some still pictures in the middle, layout some popular strength-based music in the background, and create a video.
  • See Sources of Strength website videos for instructions on how to make a video and for an example of a What Helps Me video.
  • This video can then be shown schoolwide, on social media, or as an introduction to a class or small group discussion.

School Newspaper,  Announcements & Social Media: Peer Leaders can write or interview others (students and adults) about the strengths that have helped them manage emotions. These stories can be posted in the school newspaper or shared over morning announcements. This will be used in promoting the activity schoolwide. These stories can also be shared on social media on your school’s Sources of Strength accounts. Post these stories and hashtag #sourcesofstrength and #whathelpsme. Have all the peer leaders to post their stories on their own accounts. Then encourage your friends to post their stories. Soon you will have created a social network filled with stories of strength. 

Small Group Discussions: During a classroom presentation, Peer Leaders and Adult Advisors can first share a few of their own What Helps Me stories. Be sure to practice with your Peer Leader group before presenting to a class. (For tips on giving presentations, watch this video) After you share your stories, pass out What Helps Me cards and ask the students to write their own stories of strength. Then divide into small groups and have everyone share what helps them when dealing with difficult emotions. You can use the Sources of Strength What Helps Me cards or design your own. It’s a good idea to have a large Sources of Strength wheel projected onto a screen, drawn on the whiteboard, or displayed on a poster to help students name which strengths help them.  

Wall Display: Create a wall display highlighting the stories, art, etc… that have been created throughout the course of the campaign, detailing ways students and staff have found help for regulating their emotions in healthy ways. Be creative. Take a photo of your finished display and post it on your school’s Sources of Strength social media accounts. 

Class Assignments: Teachers can get involved by incorporating the What Helps Me campaign into specific assignments. English teachers have given writing assignments interpreting strengths that might have helped literary characters manage difficult emotions or essay assignments asking students to tell their stories – What Helps Me with…. anger, anxiety, or depression… is…. Art teachers have assigned art projects that communicate the What Helps Me philosophy. Psychology teachers have assigned emotional regulation research and projects.    

 

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Trusted Adult Campaign

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In your Peer Leader Training, you named adults in your community who you would go to for help if you or a friend were struggling. Be sure to deliver your Thank You cards to them and tell them that you appreciate them. 

Now your challenge is to involve the rest of your school. We want you to get at least 80% of students in your school to name their Trusted Adults and to display these names in a large, visual Wall of Trust. 

Here are some ideas to help you get started. 

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As you are planning this campaign, think about what you want your final Wall of Trust display to look like. A tree, a pyramid, a mural, circles, rainbow, photos + names, . Once you pick an idea, get crafty and make your cards, bricks, leafs, triangles, circles, etc. Make sure you have enough cards for at least 80% of students to write at least one name each. Here are some examples from other Peer Leader teams. 

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Also think about where the Wall of Trust will be displayed. Work with your Adult Advisors to find a large area in a prominent location so everyone can see it. 

Then work with your Peer Leader team to decide how you will gather the names. Here are some ideas for talking to other students about Trusted Adults and collecting names from them:

Cafeteria Contacts: A team of Peer Leaders can set up a table in the cafeteria or commons and hand out ‘trusted adult cards or ‘Post-Its’, asking students to write down their own name and the name of an adult they could go to about a problem (Trusted Adult). Give them a card to fill out with their name and their Trusted Adult’s name that you can add to a wall display. Have students place these cards or ‘Post-Its’ on a poster in the lunchroom. These cards or ‘Post-Its’ can then be transferred to a hallway mural or larger display for the whole school. Also give them a postcard, which they can give to their trusted adult that says, “Thank you for being a source of strength in my life.” On the back of the postcard they can write some personal words of thanks to their Trusted Adult. 

‘Tagging’ Students: A fun way that you as Peer Leaders can get other students talking about trusted adults is to go into the hallways and tag 5-10 of your friends by putting a sticker on them. You can make stickers or use Sources of Strength stickers. Tell them “You’ve been tagged – Sources of Strength” or “ You’ve been chosen – Sources of Strength” – and then give them directions to go to a specific location (room 101, the table set up in the commons, etc.)  for a mystery prize or mystery game. When the student arrives in the room, they are meet by Adult Advisors and Peer Leaders, given a prize (bottle of water, cookie, wristband, etc…) or engaged in a quick fun activity or game, and asked to name a trusted adult. Once the student writes this name down on a card, ‘Post-It,’ paper leaf, paper brick, etc…  they will then be given a sticker to go out and tag 1 or 2 of their own friends in the school. Be sure to also give them a Thank You postcard to share with their Trusted Adult. 

Classroom Presentation: As Peer Leaders you can plan a classroom presentation, in which you talk about Sources of Strength, share stories of your mentors/trusted adults, and then pass out cards and have the students fill out who their mentors/trusted adults are. Go around the room and have the whole class share the names of their trusted adults out loud. You can also write all the names on the whiteboard. Collect the cards to be used in your hallway display and be sure to give every student a  Thank You postcard to give to their mentors/trusted adults as well. 

Once you have collected all the names, build your Wall of Trust in a prominent location in the school. Take a photo of it and share on your team’s social media account and #sourcesofstrength.

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As you are collecting names and handing out postcards, you can also encourage students to take a photo with their Trusted Adult and post it on social media tagging #sourcesofstrength and #trustedadult. 

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In addition to creating the Wall of Trust, you can also promote the campaign and spread the word about Sources of Strength and Trusted Adults through other outlets in your community. 

Video Project: Create a brief video where several Peer Leaders name different trusted adults both in the school and out of the school and give short stories about how they have been a strength in their lives. This video can be shown in the school or sent out via social media. 

Social Media: Create a Trusted Adult social media campaign. Start with your peer leader team. Have each Peer Leader post a photo with their Trusted Adult, explain why they are a source of strength in their life and #sourcesofstrength and #trustedadult. Encourage the whole school to post their own photos and stories. 

Newspaper Stories: Write about your  trusted adults and how they have been a strength for you in the school newspaper or community paper. This can help promote the school-wide activities your peer leader team is doing to collect names from other students.

School Announcements: Peer Leaders can also plan for a school announcement series of trusted adults stories – “this is Thank Your Mentor-Trusted Adult week and over the course of the week we will be sharing stories of Mentors/Adults who have been a strength for us and made a positive impact in our lives” – and then have three to four Peer Leaders talk about their trusted adults over the announcements every morning.

Be creative. Have fun. Involve the whole school. Let us know how it goes by sharing on social media or e-mailing media@sourcesofstrength.