|Greetings YDEKC Members and Friends:
As school begins for young people around the region this week, we wanted to share some inspiration from our summer Social & Emotional Learning Symposium. Focusing on the social and emotional well-being of our young people will be more critical than academics as we return into a new and different reality. How are we centering racial equity while challenging practices and policies that don’t support our students and families?
First, know that you’re not alone. As one Symposium participant remarked, “There are a whole lot of fabulous people doing this work in my area. It’s easy to feel like we work in a vacuum sometimes.”
Second, let’s commit to being intentional about how we’re showing up for young people. How are you doing your own work while doing work to support our young people? How do we embrace caring for the collective while also caring for ourselves? Here are some of the takeaways Symposium participants are bringing with them as we head into fall:
- “To embrace uncertainty and make sure that I am making my healing, SEL learning and reflection on personal bias a priority so that my students can benefit FULLY and engage in the same reflection. Adults need to do the work so that students have a guide and know how. Also, I need to and am committed to be intentionally increasing/amplifying student voice at all times, specifically Black and Brown students.”
- “Conflict is the beginning of possibility! And that in order to shift systems of support we need to take collective action and demand change.”
- “That I must keep engaging in this kind of self-growth and keep risking difficult conversations to push systems and policies to change.”
- “That addressing the whole child, or whole person, is the key to truly connecting with others in a way that reduces the chances of inflicting unintentional social and emotional harm.”
Finally, we must continue, as one participant described their most important takeaway, “Building a community for collective action.” Let’s build genuine relationships while asking the hard questions and moving forward with collective demands for change.
For a summary and reflective view of the Symposium experience, we encourage you to check out our event summary blog post, the reflection slide show, and guest blog post from our School’s Out Washington colleague and Symposium staff: Listening to Our Hearts: A Social & Emotional Learning Symposium Reflection.
Thank you to all of our members and partners who are working so hard right now to meet the needs of youth and families under uniquely challenging circumstances. We are honored to do this work in community with you.
With appreciation and gratitude,
Partnerships & Professional Learning Manager
Youth Development Executives of King County
ydekc.org | firstname.lastname@example.org | 206.336.6908