For Middle and High School Students

Helping children reach for their dreams, respond resiliently to life’s challenges, and recognize that they are unique and valuable.

The Resilience for Middle and High School programs grew out of a demand to develop and test high quality programs to build and strengthen resilience for youth ages 12 through 18. Through our research we have learned that we can teach students to recognize, build, and strengthen their resilience core and put it to work in their lives. Our results indicated that students were able to experience greater academic success, were better prepared to deal with rejection, failure, and anxiety, and practiced healthier lifestyle behaviors following the intervention.

Our Resilience for Middle and High School programs help students identify and develop their abilities and unique talents, work toward goals that are important to them, and learn good decision making skills. They discover different ways of keeping things in perspective and practicing optimism. They learn how they can depend on themselves and others can depend on them, leading to self-confidence. They learn to appreciate themselves as unique, irreplaceable, and precious.

Please view our brief slideshow.

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True Resilience for Kids.

Our Resilience for Youth five-hour/five-session program is based on several years of research to develop, test, and evaluate resilience interventions for youth. From 2009 through 2012 we conducted a $375,000 study funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

We created resilience building programs for students that include group exercises, self-reflection, teacher guided learning, and community participation and support. Materials include teacher’s manuals, student workbooks, and activities to help students recognize, build, and strengthen their resilience.

As a result, we have selected and refined the best approaches for teaching resilience and offer a brief and effective program that is ideal for schools, summer camps, and organizations anywhere in the world. Our approach is solid, research-based, and effective.

The student goals for the five-hour/five session resilience curriculum are to build and strengthen individual resilience by helping students first recognize how resilient they already are and then by supporting them as they learn the essential skills and knowledge to live a resilient life and respond with resilience to life’s challenges.

Expected outcomes for students who actively participate in the five-hour/five- session resilience program include:

  1. Beginning knowledge of core characteristics of resilience indicated by higher scores on the Resilience Assessment from pre- to post-test
  2. New resilience skills to use when responding to life’s challenges evidenced by learned behaviors in exercises
  3. Insights into own responses gained by journaling and discussion during the resilience sessions

We achieve the student goals by offering a five-session/five hour curriculum that:

  1. Teaches the five core characteristics of resilience
  2. Provides examples and fun exercises to learn and practice resilience skills and knowledge
  3. Includes self-reflective activities to help students incorporate resilience into their daily lives

Each student session requires approximately one hour. Completing all five sessions will take five hours.

Youth aged 8-12

Program includes:

  1. Five session/five-hour research-based resilience curriculum, which includes exercises, self-reflection, activities, teacher script, and other teaching materials
  2. Resilience Scale  for Children (RS10)
  3. Resilience summary for each student
  4. Teacher/counselor training (e.g., onsite one-day training, webinar training)
  5. Two hours consultation via Skype
  6. Data analysis and reporting if desired

Youth aged 13-18

Program includes:

  1. Five session/five-hour research-based resilience curriculum, which includes exercises, self-reflection, activities, teacher script, and other teaching materials
  2. Resilience Assessment
  3. True Resilience Profile for each student
  4. Teacher/counselor training (e.g., onsite one-day training, webinar training)
  5. Two hours consultation via Skype
  6. Data analysis and reporting if desired

Resilience for Youth is a program developed for students in grades 8-12 based on over twenty years of research into the characteristics of resilient people. The lessons are presented in three levels, each of which takes 8 to 9 weeks to complete if used once a week in a 45-50 minute class.

  • Level I: Introduction to Resilience (recommended for grade seven)
  • Level II: Self-Assessment (recommended for grade eight)
  • Level III: Building Your Resilience Core (recommended for grade nine)

Evidenced-based lessons teach the five core characteristics of resilient people in a way that students can understand, reflect upon, and apply in their lives.

In a federally funded study, students’ resilience scores increased steadily in a statistically significant way among students who actively participated in the curriculum.

2010 2011
  Pre Post Pre Post
Resilience  Scores 133.3 135.0 139.3 146.9

When people of any age build these five core characteristics in themselves, they increase their capacity to make decisions that lead to a rewarding and meaningful life.

They learn and grow from stress and adversity instead of losing ground or giving up.


Level I

In Level I students are introduced to the concept of resilience and the five core characteristics of resilient people. Through stories, cartoons, and real life examples, students learn how resilience relates to their own decision making and life choices. They are also introduced to a modified rational-emotive therapy model helping them become aware of the ways their own thinking affects their actions.

Table of Contents for Level I – Introduction to Resilience

Lesson 1: Introduction to Resilience
Goal: Students will be able to define resilience and identify the five core characteristics of resilient people.

Lesson 2: Purpose – Living a Meaningful Life (Part One)
Goal: Students will be able to understand that they will find meaning through using their abilities and knowing what they value.

Lesson 3: Purpose – Living a Meaningful Life (Part Two)
Goal: Students will be able to understand the importance of using their abilities and knowing what they value.

Lesson 4: Equanimity – Keeping a Balanced Perspective (Part One)
Goal: Students will understand that resilient people are able to maintain a balanced perspective.

Lesson 5: Equanimity – Keeping a Balanced Perspective (Part Two)
Goal: Students will understand that they can choose to respond in different ways to the same situation.

Lesson 6: Perseverance – Never Give Up
Goal: Students will have a greater appreciation for the value of working hard to reach their goals.

Lesson 7: Self-reliance – Can You Depend on Yourself?
Goal: Students will identify ways to strengthen their self-reliance

Lesson 8: Self-Acceptance – Liking Yourself Warts and All
Goal: Students will be able to recognize that their uniqueness is of value.

Standards Level 1

American School Counselor Assn. Standards Addressed Throughout Level I:
A:A1.4 Accept mistakes as essential to the learning process
A:A3.1 Take responsibility for their actions
A:A3.2 Demonstrate the ability to work independently as well as the ability to work cooperatively with other students
A:B2 Plan to achieve goals
A:A3.4 Apply knowledge of aptitudes and interests to goal setting
A:C1 Relate school to life experiences
C:A1.3 Develop an awareness of personal abilities, skills, interests, and motivations
PS:A, all: Students will acquire the knowledge, attitudes and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect and others.
PS:B1.3 Identify alternative solutions to a problem
PS:B1.5 Demonstrate effective coping skills for dealing with problems
PS:B1.7 Demonstrate a respect and appreciation for individual and cultural differences
PS:B1.8 Know when peer pressure is influencing a decision
PS:C1.9 Learn how to cope with peer pressure
PS:C1.10 Learn techniques for managing stress and conflict
PSC1.11 Learn coping skills for managing life events

Montana Health Education Standard Addressed Throughout Level I:
5: Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health.
6: Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal setting and decision-making skills to enhance health.
7: Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal and family health.


Level II

In Level II, students review the five core characteristics of resilient people and are introduced to four types of behaviors that support resilience. They take several assessments to determine their own resilience and the level of their own support and build a personal and unique profile of their own current resilience.

Table of Contents for Level II – Self-Assessment

Lesson 1: Introduction to Resilience
Goal: Students will be introduced to and/or review the concept of resilience.

Lesson 2: Identifying the Characteristics of Resilient People (Part One)
Goal: Students will be able to recognize the five core characteristics of resilient people.

Lesson 3: Identifying the Characteristics of Resilient People (Part Two)
Goal: Students will be able to recognize a resilient response.

Lesson 4: Strengthening Your Resilience Core (Part One)
Goal: Students will learn and apply four supports to resilience in their own lives

Lesson 5: Strengthening Your Resilience Core (Part Two)
Goal: Students will learn about and apply four supports for building resilience

Lesson 6: How Resilient Are You?
Goal: Students will assess their own levels of resilience and explore their interests.

Lesson 7: What Role Do You Choose To Play in the World?
Goal: Students will understand that different people have different roles in life, and each of these roles is equally valid.

Lesson 8: Review Assessments of Resilience
Goal: Students will review resilience through application of the principles taught.

Standards Level II

American School Counselor Assn. Standards Addressed Throughout Level II:
A:A1.4 Accept mistakes as essential to the learning process
A:A3.1 Take responsibility for their actions
A:A3.2 Demonstrate the ability to work independently as well as the ability to work cooperatively with other students
A:A3.3 Develop a broad range of interests and abilities
A:B2 Plan to achieve goals
A:B2.4 Apply knowledge of aptitudes and interests to goal setting
A:C1 Relate school to life experiences
C:A1.3 Develop an awareness of personal abilities, skills, interests, and motivations
PS:A (all): Students will acquire the knowledge, attitudes and interpersonal skills to help them understand and respect and others.
PS:B1.3 Identify alternative solutions to a problem
PS:B1.4 Develop effective coping skills for dealing with problems
PS:B1.7 Demonstrate a respect and appreciation for individual and cultural differences
PS:B1.8 Know when peer pressure is influencing a decision
PS:C1.5 Differentiate between situations requiring peer support and situations requiring adult professional help
PS:C1.9 Learn how to cope with peer pressure
PS:C1.10 Learn techniques for managing stress and conflict
PSC1.11 Learn coping skills for managing life events

Montana Health Education Standard Addressed Throughout Level II:
5: Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health.
6: Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal setting and decision-making skills to enhance health.
7: Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal and family health.


Level III

In Level III, students review Levels I and II and make goals to implement supports for resilience into their daily lives. A longer story is introduced to help students recognize the characteristics of resilient people in a real life situation. Students are given the opportunity to discuss problems they face and develop solutions as a class.

Table of Contents for Level III – Building Your Resilience Core

Lesson 1: Introduction to Resilience and the Power of Our Thoughts
Goal: Students will be able to define resilience, identify the five core characteristics of resilient people, and recognize the power of thoughts to create actions.

Lesson 2: Review of Characteristics of Resilient People
Goal: Students will be able to define resilience, identify the five core characteristics of resilient people, and identify supports for resilience.

Lesson 3: Social Supports for Resilience Building
Goal: Students will use the information they have learned about the characteristics of resilient people and the supports for resilience to identify actions and decisions that build the Resilient Core.

Lesson 4: Taking Care of My Physical and Emotional Health
Goal: Students will learn how the characteristics of resilient people and the resilience support of Healthy Behaviors relate to their own lives.

Lesson 5: Balancing Responsibility Rest and Recreation
Goal: Students will learn how the characteristics of resilient people and the resilience support of Balancing Responsibility Rest and Recreation relate to their own lives.

Lesson 6: Engaging in Life
Goal: Students will learn how the characteristics of resilient people and the resilience support of Engaging in Life relate to their own lives.

Lesson 7: Review and Conclusion of Story
Goal: Students will review and apply what they have learned about resilience.

Lesson 8: Review and Final Exam
Goal: To reinforce, review, and assess lesson materials and concepts.

Standards Level III

American School Counselor Assn. Standards Addressed Throughout Level III:
A:A3 Take responsibility for their actions.
A:B2 Plan to Achieve Goals
A:B2.4 Apply knowledge of aptitudes and interest to goal setting
C:A1.3 Develop an awareness of personal abilities, skills, interests and motivations
PSA:1 Acquire Self-knowledge – identify values, attitudes and beliefs; learn the goal-setting process; understand change is a part of growth; identify and express feelings; distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate behavior; understand the need for self-control and how to practice it; demonstrate cooperative behavior in groups; identify personal strengths and assets; identify and discuss changing personal and social roles
PS:A2 Acquire Interpersonal Skills – respect alternative points of view; recognize, accept, respect and appreciate individual differences; use effective communications skills
PS:B1 Self-knowledge Application – understand consequences of decisions and choices; identify alternative solutions to a problem; develop effective coping skills for dealing with problems; know when peer pressure is influencing a decision; use persistence and perseverance in acquiring realistic goals
PS:C1 Differentiate between situations requiring peer support and situations requiring adult professional help; learn how to cope with peer pressure; learn techniques for managing stress and conflict; learn coping skills for managing life events

Montana Health Education Standard Addressed Throughout Level III:
5: Students will demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health.
6: Students will demonstrate the ability to use goal setting and decision-making skills to enhance health.
7: Students will demonstrate the ability to advocate for personal and family health.

We offer a one-day  Resilience ™ Workshop for teachers and counselors who will be responsible for delivering the resilience programs to youth. We require that teachers and counselors participate in the Resilience ™ Workshop in order to:

  1. Recognize, build, and strengthen their own resilience.
  2. Be prepared to teach and model the resilience core characteristics to their student.s
  3. Participate in tailoring Resilience for Youth materials for their specific population/culture.

The teacher and counselor goals are to:

  1. Complete a self-assessment of their own resilience using the Resilience Scale.
  2. Reflect on the personal Resilience Profile™ generated from the completed  Resilience Scale.
  3. Learn the five core characteristics of resilience.
  4. Practice and do self-reflection and group resilience exercises.
  5. Begin to strengthen their resilience core.

The Resilience Workshop should be completed before teachers and counselors begin helping and teaching students. Only after learning the resilience concepts in the teacher and counselor curriculum will they be prepared to help and support students as they build and strengthen their resilience. These concepts must be applied throughout the curriculum as learning to incorporate resilience into one’s life isn’t something you do once or in a class.

Expected outcomes for counselors and teachers who use the adult resilience training materials include:

  1. Beginning knowledge of core characteristics of resilience.
  2. New resilience skills to use when responding to life’s’ challenges evidenced by learned behaviors and greater insight into personal responses to change, challenge, and adversity.
  3. Tailored Resilience for Youth exercises and examples that fit the needs of their specific students and culture.

We offer two different surveys for measuring resilience in youth and teens.

Resilience Scale for Children (RS10)

For those between the ages of 8 and 12, we recommend the Resilience Scale for Children. This is a ten-item Resilience Scale written at the 2nd grade reading level. As with our other resilience measures, it captures the resilience core characteristics (i.e., authenticity, purpose, perseverance, equanimity, and self-reliance). This is a new scale with strong initial reliability and construct validity.

Resilience Assessment for Youth

For those between the ages of 13 and 18, we recommend the  Resilience Scale (2.0). This scale is written at the 6th grade reading level. It measures the five resilience core characteristics. This is a very popular, highly valid and reliable tool to measure resilience.

In an analysis of available survey instruments to measure adolescent resilience, Ahern et al. wrote: “One instrument (Resilience Scale [RS]) was determined to be the best instrument to study resilience in the adolescent population due to psychometric properties of the instrument and applications in a variety of age groups, including adolescence.

 

Ahern N, Kiehl E, Sole ML, Byers J. (2006). A Review of Instruments Measuring Resilience. Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing 29 (103-125).

Why Resilience for youth is important

Children experience stress and adversity for many reasons. The years that some children spend in middle and high school can be very stressful as a result of academic expectations, new social situations, bullying, and in some cases, abuse. These are years that can be filled with anxiety and uncertainty. It is not uncommon for students to be overextended with expectations to join everything, to excel in many areas in order to get into competitive colleges and win scholarships. Many children are taking care of younger siblings as well as trying to have a life for themselves.

A look at suicide data supports the claim that our youth are experiencing tremendous stress and strain. The problem is that we are not teaching our kids how to respond to life’s difficulties in a healthy, effective, and long term way.

We must help our youth learn to face new situations, manage stress effectively, and meet challenges with confidence and skill. Even at a very young age, it’s possible to help children recognize and build on their unique talents and gifts, a strategy that will serve them well into adulthood. We have concluded through our research that living resiliently can be learned.

Frequently asked questions…

Q: Why do I need training?
A: The True Resilience for Youth and Teens programs are based on a unique model of resilience, which sets our programs apart from all other related programs. There are no available programs that apply solid research-based resilience concepts in the same way that the True Resilience for Youth and Teens curricula do.

It is unlike other programs you might have used to reduce bullying, depression, and drug and alcohol use in that it brings about fundamental and long lasting changes in youth to help them build their resilience capacity leading to good judgment, decision making, and a meaningful and balanced life. It is not a tactical or band aid approach to problems. Once the teacher/counselor fully understands the core characteristics of resilient people, the lessons can be easily tailored through examples to address nearly any problem requiring self-reflection and decision-making skills.

It is essential that teachers understand the resilience model and concepts upon which this program is based. We believe the most effective use of this curriculum is to help teachers build and strengthen their personal resilience first. Then we guide them to incorporate the characteristics of resilient people into other programs to help students integrate resilience into their lives.