To combat the rise in mental health disorders, and preventable health issues like youth diabetes, ASAS focuses on three aspects of health: social-emotional learning (SEL), exercise, and nutritional education. We also understand that kids, like adults, need a break from schoolwork and/or stress in their lives. We incorporate mindfulness activities and free play time to just let kids be kids.
ASAS adapted our curriculum to address the social-emotional needs of our students. Research clearly demonstrates the significant role social-emotional learning (SEL) has in promoting the healthy development and academic achievement of all students.
Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA)
ASAS uses The Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) tool, a social and emotional assessment, to identify kids who are “in-need” of additional one-on-one counseling supports or alternative resources. ASAS is committed to providing individualized social-emotional learning (SEL) instruction and consistently reinforcing positive behaviors. Staff utilizes the DESSA toolkit quarterly to individually assess students behaviors related to resilience, social-emotional competence, and school success. Utilizing the toolkit, staff can access a vault of resources and lesson plans online to best support our students in their areas of weakness and help to encourage their areas of strength. With this information, ASAS is able to individually grow and develop our students social emotional skills and create growth as a whole which will promote more positive interactions during programming and also during the school day, thus expanding our impact.
ASAS recognizes that our students can achieve their personal best in school and in life when they are equipped with the tools to lead healthy, active lifestyles. ASAS uses sports activities to get kids physically active, and to connect kids to lessons on leadership, teamwork, resilience, discipline, goal setting, and responsibility.
Through our partnership with the Columbus Blue Jacket Foundation, ASAS offers a a free, week-long, intensive youth leadership and mentoring program called Hockey Heroes. The program is designed to leverage the game of hockey to provide participants with mentors who educate at-risk youth about high school, college, and career opportunities. Hockey Heroes introduces the majority of our students to the sport of hockey for the first time and provides unique sports experiences that blend character building and leadership training with fun and engaging activities.
Children in our program are served a warm meal each night before they go home. But serving the immediate need of hunger is not enough if we are going to change the hunger and health epidemic. Children must be educated on food choice, nutrition and have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. We partner with local organizations to provide nutrition education and cooking instruction.
During our quarterly Family Nights, we invite resource providers into our program to share information about nutrition, health screenings, and other support offerings that will benefit our families.