News and Events

What does supporting the whole child mean to you?

POSTED ON June 21, 2019
by Mona Grife

About a year ago, I went to a meeting about social & emotional learning that was expertly facilitated by Erin Okuno. I told her that day, I had a crush on her (even though I had just met her!) because of the artful way she made sure everyone was engaged. What stuck in my mind was the prep and reflection she had done beforehand. Before the meeting, she asked us to submit via email our answers to these questions, “What does social-emotional learning mean to you? What does it look like, sound like, feel like?”.

I had just completed YDEKC’s report– the Social & Emotional Learning Landscape Scan. It maps out local social & emotional learning (SEL) efforts and aims to better explain what systems and strategies are in place that support whole child outcomes in the Road Map region. Throughout the report, we chose to use the language whole child, whole day because we wanted to expand the narrative of SEL to emphasize the fact that we need equitable, engaging, and safe spaces in order for any learning to happen. We also articulate that supporting the whole child (social, emotional, and academic learning) happens across the day, across the year, in a variety of settings and contexts.

I walked away from that report process thinking that I wished we could have told more stories. I thought about Erin’s question. We didn’t actually show what supporting the whole child looks like, sounds like, and feels like. If we want to change hearts and minds, we need to paint that picture. It also made me think if we want folks to understand how we do this work and to move forward some of the recommendations from the report, we needed to show the essential work youth-serving programs are doing in our community.

Cue in the music! So now I introduce to you, YDEKC’s Whole Child, Whole Day Social Media Campaign. You may remember in April, YDEKC awarded 16 projects with mini-grants. This investment is supporting new and existing efforts that center racial equity, honor youth & family voice, and strengthen partnerships in whole child efforts across the whole day. A central piece of this project is celebrating our accomplishments and spotlighting all the wonderful stories of youth & community orgs. With these projects, we begin to paint that picture of what whole child, whole day looks, feels, and sounds like.

This Whole Child, Whole Day campaign is also inspired by communication resources From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope, the final report from the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social & Emotional Academic development.

Here is how you can support and follow the campaign:

  1. Check us out on Facebook (, Instagram (@ThisisYDEKC) and Twitter (@ydekc) for Mini-grant Mondays to learn about each organization and project.
  2. Follow the hashtags: #SELKC, #WholeChildWholeDay, #YouthDevelopment #ExpandedLearningWA.
  3. Contribute to the conversation and post your pics and stories about your whole child efforts using the hashtags as well. What does supporting the whole child mean to you?