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Denver Nuggets and Lt. Governor Joe Garcia Kick Off African-American History Program

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last week, Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, a panel of players from the Denver Nuggets, and more than 80 students from West Leadership Academy in Denver gathered to celebrate the launch of EverFi’s 306: African-American History course this spring semester. The Nuggets are making this program available to all 9-12 graders, at no cost to the academy.

Lt. Governor Garcia kicked off the event by sharing personal anecdotes about the positive impact of his diverse upbringing and asked students to reflect on the importance of studying other cultures and learning shared values.

In its third year of operation, West Leadership Academy has a 95% minority enrollment, which includes a 91% hispanic student population. The school was built as part of an initiative to revive a neighboring school with the district’s lowest graduation rate and prepare students to be college-ready.

College-readiness is a central goal of Lt. Governor Garcia’s as well. In his remarks to students, he shared his mission to ensure that students of all backgrounds are equally represented and equally successful in higher education. He also urged students to seek help from their teachers and their community. “If you’re willing to put effort in, there are folks who want to help you be successful,” Garcia advised. “And I want to emphasize that if you’re struggling, these are some of the people who want to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask.”

Clearly, the West Leadership Academy students found common ground with Garcia. The Lt. Governor really resonated with me,” said student Luis Carrasco. “Knowing he is Latino and the position that he is in, that’s really motivating and makes us think that we can do it too.”

The NBA panel, comprised current and former Denver Nuggets players Randy Foye, Mark Randall, and Jameer Nelson, answered students’ questions about why multicultural education is so importan120_EverFiDenvert and provided advice on overcoming adversity and achieving personal goals. “Don’t be caught up in what you’re not,” challenged former NBA player Mark Randall. “Be caught up in what you are and what you can do.”

In the coming weeks, students at West Leadership Academy will be taking EverFi’s 306: African-American History course. They will learn stories and themes of African-American women and men who have overcome obstacles through grit, strength, creativity, and intellect. The kickoff event encouraged students to dive deeper into the course and draw inspiration from it’s great stories. To learn more about 306 and about bringing this diversity & inclusion program into your community, click here >

Student Blog Contest 2015-2016

Student: Vivian R.
Teacher: Jeanne Brist
School: Whitefish Middle School
State: Montana
Sponsor: American Bank

Vault has helped me a lot with money. I was really confused about what happened after my mom swiped her card at a store to pay for our needs and some wants. Now I know that after she swipes her credit card at the store it takes money out of her account and the store gets paid. I also used to be confused about checks. Thanks to Vault, I also know how that works! When you give someone a check you also write down a little note to yourself (that is what I like to call it) so you can keep track of how much money you still have in your account at the bank. If you didn’t write a note letting you know that you just spent $10, than you would not know that you spent that ten dollars and you would forget and think that you still had the ten dollars. That would be bad because then you would go to write someone else a check and you think that you still have ten dollars in your account and you have to pay the bank for your mistake. I have really enjoyed Vault and it has made an impact on my life! Vault can help anyone who is in middle school and has trouble understanding money, I know it helped me.

To learn more about Vault, visit: http://everfi.com/k12/vault-understanding-money/

Taking Time to Celebrate and Care for You

With the “holiday season” now behind us, we’ve had an opportunity to reflect on the past year, give thanks, and appreciate the people in our midst and our many blessings. Yet for most of us, the past few weeks were probably accompanied by an extra-long “to do” list, a flurry of additional activities and gatherings, and a level of stress that is decidedly out of sync with “the most wonderful time of the year.”

For many, there was time spent relaxing and with family and loved ones, celebrating and reinvigorating our personal connections. There was also the potential opportunity to breathe, celebrate ourselves and our accomplishments, and recharge.   Given all our efforts to promote messages of student health, safety, and wellbeing, we often fall short of taking our own advice on preserving a sound body, mind, and spirit. This is particularly important for people providing services to troubled students or those who have experienced trauma who are prone to “compassion fatigue” or “secondary traumatic stress.”

Self-care has come into the common vernacular, and with that, a host of resources, technology-enabled tools, products, and apps have emerged to help support our care for mind, body, and spirit. In support of this movement, research continues to demonstrate the deleterious effects of our modern lifestyle, and the beneficial effect of measures—even seemingly small ones—to maintain a sense of wellbeing and a healthier lifestyle.

A great place to start for resources is the Self-care Starter Kit from the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. Typical self-care activities include:

As you start the new year, consider these self-care practices “gifts to yourself.” And if these gifts feel good and you see their beneficial effects, consider making a habit of them by incorporating them into your daily routine as your new year’s resolution—an ongoing gift to yourself to last throughout 2016.  Best wishes for a happy, healthy new year.