7th-10th Grade Programs
Stepping Up to the Plate
This dynamic program continues to be a work in process because of the incredible results that the students provide. The presentation lasts 90 minutes and then a discussion/intervention phase begins. Many times the students will continue to come down front and speak for another hour.
The beginning covers the four primary needs of students and why these needs motivate their behavior. Jim finishes this section with his story of being a victim and how the bully’s death made him so happy and later so guilty.
During the second part Jim talks about the two common threads that have been discovered from reviewing all of the school shootings since Columbine. He gives the students personal time to write down their own feelings, the ones they have been burying deep inside.
Part three covers the recent increase in suicide by students. He reads articles about students who committed suicide because their primary needs were not being met.
Part four is the story of three boys, Curt (his son and victim), Vance (a leader who became Curt’s friend), and Roy the man who killed Curt.
Part five involves having students come down front. Through Jim’s facilitation, even gang members have stood to apologize to their peers, popular clique leaders have vowed to be more inclusive, victims have asked for acceptance and shy students with low self-esteem have asked for friendship. Jim leads this age group masterfully toward acceptance, kindness, and authenticity. Many students demonstrate great leadership qualities during this segment. Many broken relationships are mended. For some new friendships begin.
Stories from Jim
Recently, an entire assembly of 7th and 8th grade students left with hope. An 8th grade student who was a member of a gang came to the front of the cafeteria. The assembly had been progressing for 3 hours. Buses were already positioned outside. He said “I know that you are scared of me. I know that I have been mean to many of you.” He then started to cry. “I am so sorry for my actions. All I really wanted is to have just one friend in this school.” Many students rushed the floor and offered to shake his hand or give him a hug.
A 14 year old female student came down to meet me in front of the stage. For the past 2 hours many students had apologized to other students. Many students offered forgiveness. However, when she took the microphone she said “I don’t want to be your friend. I just want you to leave me alone. You think I don’t know that I am heavy? I know that I am heavy!” When she started to cry I ask if there was anyone in the audience who would like to come down and say something to her. Over 50 students stood in line offering her their apologies and their willingness to be her friend. The student left that day with some measure of hope.