Gilchrist’s Mizzen playlist

Michigan’s lieutenant governor focuses on social-emotional learning to empower young people in afterschool

In December, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a national advisory highlighting the urgent need to address the nation’s mental health crisis among youth.

“Mental health challenges in children, adolescents and young adults are real and widespread,” Murthy said. “Even before the pandemic, an alarming number of young people struggled with feelings of helplessness, depression and thoughts of suicide — and rates have increased.”

The advisory emphasizes the need to create positive, safe and affirming educational environments for young people and expanded social and emotional learning programs to promote healthy development.

Throughout the past two years, out-of-school-time programs have incorporated SEL practices to help young people navigate the pandemic. The Grow and Go playlist in the Mizzen by Mott app can help afterschool programs expand on these efforts.

Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II.
Photo: State of Michigan

The playlist, curated by Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, is designed to help afterschool educators raise awareness and foster discussion about how young people can: recognize and manage stress; confront and prevent bullying; and build stronger connections with peers, mentors and their communities. One of three playlists curated by the lieutenant governor, it features 25 afterschool activities for young people across grades K-12, including:

  • Mindfulness (for grades K-2, 3-5 and 7-10), which offers practical ways students can manage stress and improve focus.
  • Tricky Conversations (for grades 6-8), which empowers middle school students with tools and resources for talking about — and working through — conflicts.
  • Understanding and Confronting Cyberbullying (for grades 6-8), which helps students identify cyberbullying, understand its effects and take action to prevent and report it.

“We all have navigated so much over the last two years, and that’s particularly true of our young people,” said Gilchrist. “I think it’s important to ground ourselves in how we can manage our social and emotional well-being because ultimately that will determine how we show up in the world.”

Through “Respect and Learn from Others,” one of 25 activities in the SEL playlist, children gain a greater awareness of and respect for their peers’ perspectives.
Photo: Mizzen by Mott

The Grow and Go SEL playlist also includes lessons that strengthen young people’s connections to both their communities and the democratic process through leadership development and service projects. Afterschool programs will find activities such as:

  • Democracy in Action (grades 6-8), a fun, hands-on activity that engages young people in learning about and modeling democratic practices.
  • Call to Service (grades 6-8 and 9-12), through which students identify and vote on service projects they can undertake to address needs in their community.

“Giving young people the tools, strategies and resources to be able to put their best foot forward, no matter the situation, is critical to their path to success,” said Gilchrist. “So, I wanted to start there and then talk about things that are empowering. We all have a role to play in the present and future of our societies. That’s why learning about the democratic process is so important.”

This playlist and all Mizzen activities are free to the out-of-school-time field through support from the Mott Foundation.

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