Members of the DREAM Team at Chief Umtuch Middle School want to let their peers know that they are not alone in how they feel emotionally during the pandemic. To get the word out to students learning through remote learning at home, the DREAM Team developed a social-emotional campaign featuring expressive and relatable emojis on a series of trading cards that were distributed last week.
With cards featuring emotions ranging from happy and sad to “meh,” each card features a single emoji and a corresponding emotion with information about how to identify, process and manage that feeling. The goal of the program is to help provide support for the social-emotional needs of every student the team can reach at home.
“I’m excited to help my peers in whatever small way I can,” eighth grader and member of the DREAM Team Addisyn Heller said in a news release. “If we were back in school learning in person and I saw a friend or fellow student in distress, I would want to try and help them get back to a positive place. Creating emoji cards and sharing positive, encouraging messages is the best way that we’re able to replicate the experience of being able to help our friends with difficult emotions.”
The campaign is set to last several weeks, with a new card and emotions being showcased each week though winter break. The team has partnered with the Nutrition Services Department at Battle Ground Public Schools to include the cards once per week in the grab and go lunches that are distributed on campuses each school day.
Students can collect that cards not only for the information and resources but will also have the opportunity to exchange the cards for small trinkets or treats.
According to the release, one of the strategic goals of Battle Ground Public Schools is to educate students in social-emotional topics that help them learn resiliency, emotional-management and other life skills.
“Everyone has emotions and everyone experiences changes with these feelings,” Chief Umtuch Middle School’s Health and Fitness teacher and DREAM Team Adviser Blake Bowers said. “Sometimes strong feelings can be a distraction to your life and learning. We’re trying to reach students and teach them that what you do with your emotions can affect your entire day and your ability to learn.”
This is not the first time the DREAM Team has stepped up to provide peer support for issues facing teens and pre-teens. Chief Umtuch’s DREAM Team is the youth club of the Prevent Together Battle Ground Prevention Alliance, which focuses on reducing substance abuse in the community. The DREAM team won a pair of awards for work it did last school year to educate students on the risks of vaping. Through these projects, students on the team have been able to expand their own skills in marketing, public relations, business and communications.
Inspired by Suicide Prevention Month in September and as precursor to the emoji campaign, the DREAM Team distributed 800 cards in sack lunches late last month to encourage students to ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell) if they hear someone talking about hurting themselves or others. “We want all of our students to know that your emotions matter, that you matter, and that you belong,” Bowers said.