Being an educator (teacher, administrator, literacy coach and university professor) for over 20 years in Chicago, has given me many “eye openers” and “aha moments”. I began to see a trend of perfectly, capable and willing to learn children who were socially and emotionally weak from personal, home and community factors, PARALYZING them from becoming GREAT!! Consequently, students were ill-equipped to deal with the challenges of life; they lacked critical strategies to recognize and manage their emotions (eye opener). As a result, I witnessed students who were obese, relational aggressive, and lacking abilities to think, reason and make responsible decisions. They also lacked soft-skills and etiquette sophistication, and many times exhibited an overall low self-efficacy (aha moment). My first mission to answer this call was opening a children’s fitness center in 2005, while still employed with Chicago Public Schools (CPS). I had a small clientele with a great number of referrals from pediatricians. Business was good, but not great and with hopes of going from good to great, I resigned from CPS and put all of my energy and effort into my gym to no avail. The doors closed a year and a half later. This was a blessing in disguise because I then started pursuing contracts with CPS and various other agencies. I offered fitness, healthy cooking, etiquette, arts and crafts, entrepreneurship for kids, karate and golf to name a few. But, I felt there was still something missing that was needed; something more focused; something more for girls.
With the demands on high stakes testing and to be “book smart”, (a higher level need), our students lower and middle level needs are overlooked. These include love, safety, health, self-esteem, and mutual respect (the missing links). Many educators are beginning to realize that Social and Emotional Learning is a catalyst to the missing link with the education of our youth, especially our inner city youth.
In 2013, during a fast, God gave me a vision; a vision and mission to push the boundaries and offer social and emotional learning with a twist ~ !
The Vision~ The Twist~ The Solution…….#MissCongenialityGirls