A program that uses art to help schoolkids with trauma is spreading from New Haven across the troubled nation.
The program is called ALIVE (Animated Learning by Integrating and Validating Experience) and carried out by the New Haven-based Foundation for Arts and Trauma. It works with kids who have experienced trauma, a groupt hat included as many as half of all schoolchildren, by finding ways to “open conversations about the truth in students’ lives and liberating their spirits for the important work of learning.”
ALIVE on Wednesday released a new book designed to further that work in elementary schools. Called The Legend of Miss Kendra, the book follows a “fictional resilient single mother who has a simple list that creates a a ‘Bill of Rights’ for child safety that can be posted throughout the school.” The program has kids write letters to the main character “about their worries”; they get return letters “emphasizing empathy and resilience.”
ALIVE held a book release party in New Haven Wednesday at the New Haven Free Public Library’s main branch. The event featured Mayor Toni Harp and Miss Kendra illustrator Tanya Leonello. ALIVE is donating 3,000 copies of the books to New Haven schools.
Meanwhile, ALIVE announced that it’s expanding its program from New Haven and Minneapolis to communities across the country, at a time of intense discussion about how to deal with trauma inside schools.