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Building peer-to-peer relationships and taking “safe risks”

Building peer-to-peer relationships and taking “safe risks”

Dawn Ewing, Executive Director of Project Morry, sat down with Maria Rizo from the Afterschool Alliance to discuss how the New York Life Foundation’s Aim High grant enabled Project Morry to expand its SEL and racial equity programming over the summer. Here’s an excerpt from the article where Dawn discusses the importance of fostering safe spaces, taking safe risks, and prioritizing mental health.

This summer, we hired a full-time licensed clinical social worker. She was able to be the person to step in and help those youth who needed that extra support, instead of needing a program staff member to step out with that student. We are now able to continue programming without sacrificing the group and also take the time to help the student build the tools that they need. We built a sensory space around our social worker, Kristen, where students and staff were able to go to decompress. “The Shack” was filled with soft places to sit, nice-smelling scents, and visual sensory objects. Camp can be very overwhelming and sometimes we all need something to wrap around us. This was a really cool tool that we had never thought of. Kristen also suggested that we get ear plugs for our students. Kids that might have previously been overstimulated or overwhelmed, were now sitting with their friends because they had earplugs in.

To read the full interview click here.