Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, “What lies behind us & what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” We believe firmly in the precious resource that exists in our community: the people. Our target audience is youth; & current enrollment in our local schools is over 3,400 students, not including preschool-age youth. What potential lies ahead!
Talents-2-Strengths seeks to increase each student’s awareness of their talents & encourage them to utilize them in their home, at school, & in the community. One of the best ways to help children succeed - not just during their school years, but throughout their lives - is to help them develop their unique talents & learn how to turn them into strengths.
Here's what the 4th graders have done so far!
Discovering Your Talents
The Ashmore 4th graders discovered their talents after taking an assessment. They went through the short description of their top three talents & highlighted words they related to or stuck out to them.
They wrote about things they are good at & things they like to do. Once they were finished, we collected their papers & handed them back out randomly. The students wrote about what they think their classmate is good at & what they think they like to do.
Sharing Your Talents
The students wrote down their talents on a notecard along with how they have used one of them. They participated in a speed chat with their classmates. They had 15 seconds to share with each other what they wrote down before the line shifted.
The students received T2S journals to write down any compliments, ways they used their talents, etc. They also created a class chart of all their talents combined.
Bridging Your Talents
The Ashmore 4th graders worked together as a team to stack their cups into a pyramid while 'observers' took notes on the individual 'talents' used to create success as a team.
Students have been CONNECTING to their top 3 talents & OBSERVING those talents in action.
They've also been observing as others use their talents.
Discovering Your Values
The Ashmore 4th graders learned that understanding who they are & what they care about will help them THRIVE in life.
The students participated in an activity where they got to read over 21 values cards, then select their top 10, their top 5, & eventually their top 3.
Once they had figured out their top 3 values, their homework was to talk with someone outside of their classroom about what kind of changes they'd like to make to be more successful at using their talents & or values.
Appreciating Your Talents & Others'
The students learned what it means to appreciate something or someone. More specifically, they learned to appreciate their talents & others'!
They split into discussion groups & got to dig deeper into one of their top three talents. During the discussions they talked about what that talent means, & how they can use it at home, school, etc.
The students created their own Lego community block & celebrated our last class together!
The students wrote their talents on their Legos & had to connect them with each others. The point of this activity was so the students could get a more clear picture of what a community is.
We have had the pleasure of presenting our Talents-2-Strengths program to the students in the Mattoon High School leadership courses.
It is our goal to help the students maximize their full potential by understanding who they are, embracing their talents, & turning them into strengths!
Later in the year, these students will get the opportunity to LEAD & facilitate Talents-2-Strengths for the Mattoon 4th graders!
The students took an assessment, & discovered their top 5 talents. These talents are naturally recurring patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
We discussed the importance of knowing who you are & what you 'bring to the table'. Knowing this can help you learn, improve & become the best version of yourself!
The end in mind is to go beyond surviving, & to start THRIVING.
The students read each of their talent descriptions & highlighted what they related to, what stood out or what they learned about themselves.
The students learned that every talent has value, importance & can be used in a productive way. It is GOOD that everyone is different, because they may have new ideas & perspectives that can better the collective!
We discussed that in order to develop your talents into strengths, you must be intentional & choose to invest in yourself.
The students took a deep dive into connecting with their talents, & appreciating others' talents.
They split into groups, got to know each other & shared their talents. They also shared one thing they have learned about themselves & the impact of this activity.
The students were challenged to create a mnemonic to help them memorize their top 5 talents!
The students have been connecting to their individual talents. During session #3 we connected individual talents to create a TEAM talent community. Then each TEAM community worked together to build a CLASSROOM COMMUNITY!
It was a great opportunity to help understand that everyone brings something 'to the table'; and, when we 'connect', together, we create community!
The students were reminded that our talents naturally occur, while values are something we choose.
The students selected their top 5 values out of the 40 given. They split into groups & had to discuss & answer questions regarding their talents, values, leadership & teamwork.
As we wrapped up our last session, the students were left to think about the end in mind. While our journey together came to an end, their journey is just beginning!
The 2022 Talents-2-Strengths program was not only a pilot program, but it was an opportunity to equip others to lead & serve. The entire Mattoon 4th grade was able to participate in this program. That means were able to serve around 260 4th grade students! What a blessing!
As mentioned above, around 80 high school students also participated in this program, although it was on a more complex scale. Fit-2-Serve, along side of the leadership coordinator for the Mattoon School District, put together a game plan to find people in the community to lead this program, as well as equip them with the necessary tools & resources to be able to deliver the program effectively. It was a success! We had multiple members of the community step up & lead a classroom of 4th graders to not only believe, but understand just how unique & important they are. With the help of the high school students, & community leaders we were able to speak life into our youth & help them see just how awesome they are!
The high school students who helped facilitate the program, actually got the opportunity to lead the last session! It is our hope that the youth in our community find value in who they are & who others are. It is our hope that the youth in our community can maximize their full potential. Finally, it is our hope that all the students in this program realize their worth, their ability to be a leader, & their ability to make a change or difference in the world around them.
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