The Hope that Onward Brings

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Kids holding hands jumping for joy

When I received my UPS email that a package had been delivered to my house, I noticed some emotion rising up. I rushed home to open the box that held my copy of Onward and The Onward Workbook. I had read an early draft and spent the last few months really diving into the content on a pdf version, but there is something different about actually having the book in your hand. As I read through the introduction, I thought to myself “Yes, this is a movement!”

In the introduction to Onward, Elena Aguilar shares that “With this book, I am inviting you to join a movement toward self-knowledge, understanding, and acceptance; toward embracing emotions and creating space for them in our public, professional spaces; and toward authentic community among adults, between adults and children, and for youth, so that we may create spaces where young people can acquire the skills to thrive.” And I can’t help but think that this work will transform our schools!

This made me think about an article I had read on NPR Ed that talked about a school helping kids of trauma begin to thrive. The article, How To Apply The Brain Science Of Resilience To The Classroom, shares how this elementary school in South Bronx is teaching their students about neuroplasticity: “that $5 word taught to the second-graders at Fairmont, is the term that captures the ability of the brain to grow, change and form new connections into adulthood.” They are focused on the whole child and have implemented a mindfulness program and trainings on growth mindset. They understand how trauma and stress affect a child’s brain and work daily to help students thrive.

The story of Fairmont Neighborhood School makes me feel hopeful. Holding Onward and The Onward Workbook in my hands makes me feel hopeful. Have you received your copy yet? Share your reactions and connections to you are making.