In order to help youth, club leaders and staff members to develop the skills necessary to manage and understand social and emotional challenges, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley (BGCGCV) has launched a new program, Social-emotional learning (SEL). SEL competency development also helps to eliminate implicit bias and increases cultural responsiveness within staff in an overall effort to create a deepened sense of belonging in the clubs.
The program, which was initiated before the COVID-19 outbreak, is designed to build awareness, deepen understanding and provide practical social and emotional engagement strategies that impact both employees and club members. Club leadership, along with an SEL practitioner, will utilize a combination of qualitative and quantitative raw data gathered from survey data, in-person interviews and club observations, to refine and develop SEL enriched programming and engagement strategies.
“In light of the outbreak, this program is especially essential right now to help our staff make their way through the crisis both personally and professionally while also providing the best support for our youth,” stated Dr. Crystal Nāone, President/CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley.
In order to continue with the SEL program during the outbreak, virtual training and coaching, rather than face-to-face interaction is now being implemented. The goal of SEL initiative is to develop the clubs organizational, social and emotional IQ to increase connectedness between the BGCGCV and the community while also increasing the social and emotional engagement among club members.
Throughout the SEL program implementation process, staff will co-design and refine enrichment programming that fosters self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skill development and responsible decision making.
“We live in an environment where inclusion, belonging and often privilege are assumed conditions based on the per capita income and demographics of our community,” continued Nāone. “We believe that every child needs to feel valued, heard and seen, irrespective of their economic and social positioning,” she added.
All BGCGCV staff including administrative and temporary personnel are participating in the development and learning sessions. In addition, several club staff and alternative personnel will also co-facilitate learning sessions.
The program involves an ongoing eighth month engagement that includes four phases of development including Skill Assessment & Awareness, specific Club Program Development, Coaching & Feedback and Innovation.
SEL programs are showing a positive impact on youth. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Child Development reviewed the effect of SEL interventions involving close to 100,000 kindergarten through high school students and found both short and long-term benefits of involvement in SEL. Students showed gains in their social and emotional competencies including empathy and teamwork. They were also found to have fewer use with drugs, emotional distress and demonstrated improvements in academic performance.
The BGCGCV will assess how SEL awareness and skill development can also influence the hiring of staff and onboarding, with meeting strategies and general organizational flow of communication protocols.
For more information, contact the BGCGCV at 818-705-0905 or visit the website at www.bgcconejo.org.
About the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley (BGCGCV) are open before and after school, during lunch, on weekends, for summer camp, and all-day during school vacations. Tours of the Clubs are available upon request. The Boys & Girls Clubs also offer a variety of employment positions with excellent benefits and ongoing professional development. For more information about employment opportunities, supervised youth programs, to donate, volunteer, or register online, log onto www.bgcconejo.org or call 818-706-0905.