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. 

I am Stronger Campaign

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The I am Stronger Campaign focuses on strengths that you have increased in the last year. This campaign spreads the idea that the strengths on the wheel are not static. Just because one area on the wheel isn’t strong for you now, doesn’t mean you can’t strengthen it in the future. You are not stuck. You can grow stronger in each area of the wheel. The I Am Stronger Campaign is about collecting stories of strength from your community and sharing them through photos, videos, wall displays and social media. 

What gives this campaign power is if everyone in the school can get involved in  a writing, art or video project or small group discussion. These activities get everyone thinking about their strengths and the ways that they have grown stronger in these areas.  We want people to know they can grow in certain areas by working on new practices or activities that help develop these strengths. Likewise, we can help our school or community grow and develop these strengths by highlighting how others have gotten stronger.

Click here for a video about creating an I am Stronger campaign:

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Here are some tips to help you create a successful I am Stronger campaign in your school or community.

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Videos: Click here to watch an example of an I Am Stronger Video:

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Hallway Displays You can make I am Stronger cards, take photos of students and adults, and create a wall display using the photos and stories of strength. 

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School Newspaper & Announcements: Peer Leaders can write or interview others (students and adults) about areas they have grown stronger in. These stories can be posted in the school newspaper or shared over morning announcements. If the campaign is run over the course of a week, there could be one or two stories every morning. I Am Stronger stories can also be posted on bulletin boards.

Small Group Discussions: During a classroom presentation, Peer Leaders and Adult Advisors can first share a few of their own I Am Stronger stories. Then other students can be invited to share their stories of strengths in small groups. You can use the Sources of Strength I Am Stronger cards or design your own. The Sources of Strength Wheel can be projected onto a screen, drawn on the whiteboard, or displayed on a poster to help other students identify strengths that have become stronger in their lives.  

Social Media: You can also spread this campaign on social media by encouraging people to share their stories of strength and hashtag #IamStronger and #SourcesofStrength

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Click here to download these I am Stronger cards

 

 

Sources of Strength Train the Trainer

Throughout 2015 Sources of Strength has continued to grow and expand. This is our seventh year of Training For Trainers/Advanced Coordinators across the US and Canada. These trainings are multi day sessions that teach local trainers how to implement the Sources of Strength program with fidelity to our best practice/evidence based standards.  This past spring we provided T4T’s sessions in Winnipeg, Ottawa, and New Jersey.  

Check out these photo’s from our Summer 2015 T4T/Advanced Coordinator sessions in Denver, Savannah, White Mountain Apache Arizona, and Fairbanks (Tanana Chiefs Conference).  Participants came from middle and high schools, colleges and universities, mental health and community programs, faith based and recreation-based programs all focused on expanding Sources of Strength. Our participants represented an incredible diversity of cultures and brought great spirit and skills to our efforts. We played lots of games, learned from our community partners about what is working in their areas, practiced and honed our training and facilitation skills, and were continually inspired and encouraged by the incredible people we get that privilege of partnering with across the world. 

We are excited about our expanding work with Latino/Hispanic communities, LGTBQ outreach, start of French-Canadian efforts and translations, faith-based efforts, school, village, urban, and of course with our ever expanding efforts in Native American, Alaskan, and Canada 1st Nation communities.  This Fall/Winter we’ll provide T4T’s with the California based United Indian Health, as well as Australia (Black Dog Institute) and New Zealand.  
 
 
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It wouldn’t be Sources of Strength without laughter, fun, and learning that games aren’t
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A Key T4T component is to help make our trainers AUTHENTIC, by applying and using the strengths in their personal lives. 

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Time is spent on teaching theory, method, and research behind the curriculum as well as the power of
positive norming in our peer messaging and how we use social network connections to spread Hope, Help, and Strength.  Trainers develop a deeper understanding the curriculum, intent of each module, and the why and purpose of the sequencing. 
 
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Exciting things are happening at Sources of Strength as our great partners spread an Upstream prevention model that lights up their corners of the world.  
 

Sources of Strength adventures in Alaska

We recently returned from a 2-week trip to Alaska, training in Fairbanks with Tanana Chiefs and traveling to Fort Yukon and Venetie to work with peer leader teams and adult advisors in those villages. We were fortunate enough to be able to travel between the villages by boat on the Yukon and Chandalar Rivers. It was an amazing opportunity to be on the river and experience the beauty of the landscape. 

 

Here are some photos from our journey:

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Flying into Fairbanks

 

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Lots of games and lots of laughs at our training in Fairbanks. Such an honor to work with this amazing group of people and hear their stories of the great work they are doing. 

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Marianne Young, Doreen David, Katrina Gibson and Rowena Sam shared the work their peer leader teams have been doing in the villages of Tetlin, Huslia, Minto and Northway. Sources of Strength peer leader teams have woven Sources of Strength messages into anti-bullying campaigns, peer leader led water safety classes for younger kids, doing generosity activities like baking for elders in the community, swim parties, picnics, sledding, teaching cultural skills like drying meat, snowshoeing, fire building, berry picking and fishing. These adult leaders have been working with youth and adults in their communities to build positive relationships between teens and trusted adults  and to reduce bullying and suicide rates. 

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We also had an opportunity to do a fun photo shoot in Fairbanks:

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Then we were off …

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Flying to Fort Yukon 

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Buddy our fearless boat driver and Constance our guide from Tanana Chiefs. 

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Where the Yukon (brown) and Chandalar (green) Rivers meet. 

 

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We brought our media team to capture the journey and create images with peer leaders in the villages. 

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Peer leaders in Venetie write and draw the strengths in their lives. 

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Meeting with elders and adult advisors in Venetie. Special thanks to Myra Thumma for organizing the adult meeting as well as the peer leaders, for cooking for everyone and for taking great care of us while we were in Venetie!

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