Strength Specific Campaigns
We have found great success in schools that choose to focus on one Strength at a time in various mediums. A school may choose to focus on one Strength a month for the whole school year. For example, a wall display about Trusted Adults may interest some students, while a colorful art project, morning announcement about a peers’ Mentor, or clever social media campaign may catch the attention of others. This could also be a great resource for planning a Sources of Strength Week. There is no limit to the number of ways a Strength can be explored or expressed, so get creative! As you are moving through a Strength, check in with a wide range of Peer Leaders, asking them if the students from their corner of the social network are getting involved or interested.
The possibilities for creating events and campaigns to raise awareness of Strengths are endless! We are constantly impressed by the creativity and insight of Peer Leaders and Adult Advisors to come up with unique ideas that can change their school’s culture for the better. The following are a few ideas in each category to help you get started.
- Host an art show around the theme “Family” and allow artists to share what family looks like to them in many different mediums.
- Make a Family Tree and write down the positive qualities you appreciate about each of the members of the tree that you named. This could be the family the Peer Leader was born into, or their chosen family.
- Create a paper chain. On each link, write the name of someone in your family (the one you were born into, or the one that you chose) that you feel supported by. Pass out pieces of paper to everyone in the school, either in classrooms or the lunchroom and then add each piece to the paper chain. Display it in the school or a community space.
- Start a hashtag #WEAREFAMILY and have people post pics of their family - whatever that looks like for them, and print them up as posters to hang around the school.
- Host an awkward family photo competition where students are invited to find a funny picture of their family (the one they were born into, or the one that they chose), and then to post that photo to social media (#awkwardfamilyphoto, #FamilySupport), with a comment about how their Family Supports them. Have a prize for the winner.
- Challenge everyone in the school to meet five new friends and learn two truths and a lie about each of them.
- Host a school-wide kickball tournament. Each Peer Leader is a team captain, but they have to find five people they don’t know to participate as their teammates.
- Hold auditions for a lip-sync battle: All band names and songs have to be about friendship.
- Each morning for a week, have a Peer Leader do a shout out for someone over the morning announcements, explaining what makes them a great friend.
- Host a poetry/story slam, where Peer Leaders tell powerful stories of unexpected friendships.
- Invite the Literature/Language Arts Departments to get involved. Assign an essay about unlikely friendships, using novels, essays, and poems that tell stories of Positive Friends that changed people’s lives.
- Throw a Mentor’s parade and invite local Mentors to the school to accompany high school leaders at the local middle or elementary schools. This can build community and celebrate the impact of Mentors. (This could include parents, 6th grade reading buddies, coaches, youth group leaders, etc.)
- Host a Dress Like Your Mentor Day, then host a fashion show, voting on who captured the essence of their Mentor the most.
- Host classroom presentations about the importance of Mentors, allowing students to chat with one another about an adult they trust.
- Mentor Madness Bracket: Have the student population submit a list of Mentors/Trusted Adults in the school and/or community. Help the Sources team rank them in a March Madness style bracket with fun activities, feats of Strength, and silly challenges during lunch or passing periods. Advance different Mentors to the championship round and each year give out a trophy for the winning Mentor.
- Host a table in a common area with construction paper, markers, pens, stickers, etc. for students and staff to write thank you notes to their Trusted Adults. Challenge them to deliver that card to their Mentor in order to practice a help-seeking pathway.
- Set up a speed-dating style Mentor event, where a variety of known adults in the community who have a desire and a capacity to Mentor a student can meet them in a safe way, creating space for connection.
- Set up a photo booth and have students bring in props to showcase what their Healthy Activities are. Print those photos and put them on display.
- Do a Mannequin Challenge video down the halls of the school where everyone is frozen in the pose of their favorite healthy activity.
- Create an art contest for Healthy Activity submissions; photography, spoken word, painting, poetry, music, etc.
- Trophy cases are usually reserved for athletic and academic achievements. For a period of time, replace those awards with “artifacts” that represent Healthy Activities of students and staff around the school. Include short explanations about why a person chose to submit a certain item.
- Set up different rooms in the school featuring the Healthy Activities preferred by students on the outsides of the social networks, not just the traditional (or more sporty) joiners. Rooms could include a video game room, poetry writing workshops, board game room, Iron Chef-style cook-offs, instrument jamming room, etc.
- Create partnerships with local organizations and have school-sponsored nights at bowling alleys, mini- golf courses, volleyball courts, water parks, amusement parks, etc. Have people post selfies to show how your school is tapping into their Strengths.
- Start a Random Acts of Kindness campaign so that the domino effect is seen (or the tidal wave, or snowball effect), showing more and more kindness catching on.
- Host school supply drives, winter coat and glove drives, food drives, etc., as is seasonally appropriate.
- Host a Day of Giving where students can sign up for service at retirement homes, animal shelters, Boys and Girls Clubs, or other local charities.
- Host a between-class competition to raise money for a special cause such as ALS, suicide prevention, or breast cancer research.
- Partner with an organization to help support a local immigrant family in need.
- Host a book drive to bring books to an under-funded school library.
- During morning announcements, allow Peer Leaders to highlight a classmate or staff member who they think exemplifies Generosity.
- Set up a volunteer board next to the jobs board at the school. List opportunities for students to help others with homework, tutoring, yard work for the elderly, carpools for underclassmen, etc.
- Run a Thankfulness Challenge for 21 days, based on research showing how our brains change when we are focused on gratitude. Allow students to share their experiences.
- Survey the entire student body about their top 20 things they are thankful for, then compile the list to highlight how many similarities there are among the students.
- Host an assembly where a diverse range of spiritual practices are showcased. This will require some prep to ensure that the event doesn’t function as an evangelistic tool of one set of beliefs or practices. Instead, highlight the beauty that each spiritual practice offers.
- Invite the Literature/Language Arts Departments to get involved. Assign an essay about rites of passage in various cultural and religious practices, then have the student body create a rite of passage for students as they move up a grade level or as they graduate.
- Draw a tree with branches growing out. Hand out colored paper in the shape of leaves and have students write down things that they are thankful for, posting them on the branches when they are finished.
- Create an art contest for Spirituality submissions. Use photography, spoken word, poetry, or music to complete the sentence, “I feel connected to something bigger than myself when I .”
- Have each class start with a three minute mindfulness exercise, gratefulness challenge, or a breathing practice.
- Host a blood drive or eye exam station on campus. You could do a blood drive competition with other Sources schools in your area.
- Host a panel of medical practitioners to talk about Physical Health during an assembly or in classroom presentations.
- Invite a local Zumba instructor to visit and lead a fun class in the gym or outside, reminding participants of the importance of getting active.
- Create a poster campaign of students with stereotypical physical injuries to make a connection between getting access to Physical and Mental Health resources, i.e., the hockey player with a blacked out tooth saying- “When I lost my tooth, I went to the Dentist, and when I lost my way, I went to the School Counselor.”
- Have Peer Leaders share short stories of when they accessed medical care and received help.
- Print and post information around the school about accessing affordable medical care.
- Print posters with your School Nurse or Doctor introducing themselves, reminding students of their role and their desire to help, and inviting students to stop by.
- Survey the student body to see what helps them manage their anxiety, then create opportunities for those stress-relievers to be on campus during finals week (yoga, therapy dogs, open gym, etc.)
- Create a de-stress space at the school, where students can hang out when they are wrestling with one of the Big Three Emotions- Anxiety, Anger, Depression. Use this during testing weeks, where students may come by and make a cup of tea, meet a counselor, stretch briefly on a yoga mat, color, or listen to relaxing music.
- Cut feathers out of construction paper and ask participants to share something that helps them when they are experiencing the Big Three Emotions. Assemble the feathers into wings including the hashtag #WHATLIFTSUSUP and pose with the wings for a social media campaign.
- Host a viewing party of the Pixar movie Inside Out and have the Peer Leaders facilitate a Q&A about managing big emotions.
- Host a community night where students and their families learn more about Mental Health resources in the area.
- Create a video contest for Mental Health submissions. Use videos (imagery/scripts/songs) to tell a story of how Peer Leaders manage big emotions. Remember to keep it focused on Hope, Help, and Strength