Safety on the bus matters most, and these strategies attend to this factor and don’t interfere with the physical well-being of students. But transportation personnel have a powerful opportunity to help students regulate their emotions by creating a safe environment while building relationships. Just “feeling felt” by another person builds cognitive function, and bus drivers can often see environments, patterns of behavior, and aspects of a student’s social and personal life that may be difficult to detect and understand in the classroom.
Many of our students are walking into our classrooms with a biography that has become their biology. Chronic anxiety and early chronic adversity intimately affect brain architecture because unpredictable and ongoing stress causes the brain and body to marinate in toxic, inflammatory chemicals, which not only affects behaviors and relationships but can also affect health outcomes for an entire lifetime.
Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child and a professor at Harvard University, constantly explores the research and scientific evidence on children’s “toxic stress response” and the impact this neurobiological system has on brain development and the development of disease years and decades later. He has said, “We now understand, in a way we never did before, how early experience literally gets into the body and affects the development of the brain, the cardiovascular system, the immune system, and metabolic systems.” Normal stress is good for healthy development, but when the stress response systems are activated in the absence of supportive, calming relationships frequently and over a long period of time, this type of toxic stress disrupts neuronal health and neuronal circuits.
In the midst of toxic adversity, the brain has significant plasticity and is resilient, and this is the best news for all educators, parents, and support learning personnel. According to the Center on the Developing Child, the presence of adequate adult support can help to buffer ongoing adversity.
This past summer, my graduate student and I trained transportation personnel in northern Indiana on how to build strong relationships and help students to emotionally regulate when they stepped onto the bus each morning. We’ll continuing this training next year with a large school district in Indianapolis: Washington Township Schools serves over 11,200 students, and 175 transportation staff members will attend this training in November 2018.
Six Helpful StrategiesThere are several brain-aligned strategies bus drivers can implement with all students before and after school. These strategies promote relationship and emotional regulation, creating a culture of unified support for everyone on the bus. On bus 60, for example, creating a special name or hand signal could help a child “feel felt” first thing in the morning.
1. Three buckets: At the front of the bus, the driver can keep three buckets. The first can be labeled: “What do you need today? Grab a pick-me-up!” The second: “What’s on your mind?” The third: “Celebrations!” Each day a student can reach in the first bucket for an affirmation, a book, a sudoku, a coloring book, or a cotton ball with lavender, for example. The second bucket is a place where students can leave a note or drawing with a worry, problem, or concern, to help get it out of their system—the driver can check in later with any student about a worry if that seems warranted. The celebration bucket is a wonderful way to mention daily or weekly successes: Students announce the celebrations—which can include displaying special projects or other student work—of the students on bus 60 on a Friday afternoon. Announcements can happen either when the bus arrives at school in the morning or in the afternoon after everyone has boarded but before the bus leaves the school.
2. Student mentors: One of the most effective ways to help students regulate their negative emotions is to provide leadership opportunities. Bus drivers can show older students how to act as mentors for younger students—the mentors can model how to take deep breaths (focused attention practices) and help younger students with redirecting negative emotions through a healthier channel such as drawing, coloring, or creating a new solution to any problem the younger students might have.
3. Catch me! Drivers can “catch” students doing or saying something kind. Notes of gratitude, messages of noticing, and stickers contribute to students’ feelings of purpose and connection.
4. Thumbs up, thumbs down: Each morning and afternoon, students can check in with drivers to share how they’re feeling through a quick thumbs-up, thumbs-down, or neutral show of emotion. This is a great way to check in and notice patterns while creating a connection.
5. Little breaks: The driver can play calming music, or the driver or a student can lead call-and-response songs. And Friday celebrations are a nice short break as well.
6. Bus newsletter, website, or a social media outlet: Share news with parents and educators to recognize the familial tribe of connection on the bus in this group of students and transportation leader.
And, perhaps unlike most modern music festivals, there will be a lot of Mormons. Hosted at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, LoveLoud is the brainchild of Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds, who this year started a foundation of the same name. Having grown up in a conservative Mormon community in Las Vegas, Reynolds wanted to bring a festival celebrating L.G.B.T.Q. people to a state densely populated with Mormons, one of the most conservative religious groups in the United States and one in which two-thirds of people oppose gay marriage.
Reynolds wants his foundation, and the festival—which will feature Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Krewella, Nicholas Petricca of Walk the Moon, and Joshua James—to reach Mormon families, like his own, who might otherwise never talk to their kids about L.G.B.T.Q. issues.
“More than the event itself is the conversation about it,” he told Vanity Fair in a phone call. “Parents and kids sitting around the dinner table and the kids say, ‘Hey, mom, I want to go to this festival.’ And the parents say, ‘Hey, let’s talk about what that is and what that means.’”
Reynolds, like many Mormons, grew up believing that being gay was a sin. Though he still identifies as a Mormon, he’s had his own differences with the church, including being kicked out of Brigham Young University as a freshman after admitting to pre-marital sex. Reynolds eventually came to think differently about L.G.B.T.Q. rights, and realized he had to become more vocal about being an ally. In 2012, when Glee featured his song “It’s Time,” sung by Blaine to his boyfriend, Kurt, Reynolds said he received messages from L.G.B.T.Q. Glee fans, who thanked him for his music but who assumed he did not support them because of his religion.
“I realized I had to speak out; it was heartbreaking to get all these e-mails,” he remembers. “I’ve been given an opportunity to have this incredible voice. Am I going to spend my life hiding behind it, or am I going to spend my life doing something about that?”
Reynolds began the LoveLoud Foundation earlier this year; in June, Reynolds performed at the TrevorLIVE event during Pride week in New York City, raising money for the organization that supports L.G.B.T.Q. youth. But with the LoveLoud festival, which benefits The Trevor Project, Encircle, GLAAD, and Stand4Kind, he’s bringing this activism back home. Reynolds says that though he still disagrees with some of his family members on major issues, several will be in attendance on Friday, including one uncle, who is gay and Mormon, and moved out of the country years ago when he didn’t feel accepted in his community.
“I was able to invite him to LoveLoud, and it was a really big thing for him and for me to be able to have him around,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds notes that the leading cause of death for Utah teens is suicide. Last September, when a 19-year-old committed suicide, Jason Christensen, a then candidate for Utah State Senate, condemned the teen in a Facebook post, per The New York Daily News. He wrote that he hoped God had mercy on the teen for “the sins of homosexuality and the sins of murder.”
“It felt like a lot of unnecessary guilt looking back on it,” Reynolds said about his own experience with the church. “That already opened up my heart to people who are feeling guilty of religion. To times that by a million is to be an L.G.B.T.Q. child in a home who’s told that their most basic instinct or sense of being is wrong or flawed or sinful.”
For Saturday’s festival, Reynolds said he hopes that even people who stand by the church’s beliefs on gay rights “leave their opinions at the door.”
“I would hope that people realize that it’s not an attack on an organization,” he said. “It is an invitation for our community to come together and listen to our L.G.B.T.Q. youth who are often not heard, whose voices, for whatever reason, especially in an orthodox community, go unheard.”
The Dancing With the Stars judge took the stage in her home state of Utah, getting candid about her own past struggles with using her platform to speak out for others.
“Here’s my honest truth: Being a public figure and to use my voice has always been hard for me, because I don’t always know how to express how I feel or what I believe in,” Hough said, as her voice began to crack with emotion. “And the pressure to be politically correct has always weighed on me.”
“Unfortunately, at times, that has caused me to distance myself from a lot of important issues. Especially when they don’t necessarily affect me directly,” she continued. “There’s a great saying, ‘If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.’ Well, I can tell you, I am so happy that I know what I stand for.”
The 29-year-old professional dancer began to cry as she explained that “spreading joy and love is a mission I take very, very seriously. With all the chaos that is in the world today, the idea that we all need to love loud had never been more relevant or more needed.”
The sold-out LOVELOUD Festival, which welcomed more than 17,000 attendees, benefitted GLAAD, The Trevor Project, EnCircle, and Stand4Kind. The musical event aimed to raise awareness about the issue of teen suicide, especially among the LGBTQ community, and to promote love and acceptance among all people.
Among the groups that performed at the concert were Neon Trees, Krewella, Nicholas Petricca of Walk The Moon, and Imagine Dragons, whose frontman, Dan Reynolds, was instrumental in creating the event.
They are running a month long fundraiser at B Space for the month of Sept. They are making a difference in all students lives. Thank You B space! Everyone be sure to schedule your B Salon service for Sept. If you have not tried B Space you will not be disappointed, they are amazing.
B Space 2315 S Highland Dr, Salt Lake City, UT 84106
SALT LAKE CITY — A first-time music festival aimed at supporting LGBTQ youth charities will bring several big names to Orem later this month and now has a statement of support from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The LoveLoud Festival will be held Aug. 26 at Utah Valley University’s Brent Brown Ballpark and will be a homecoming of sorts for Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees, two bands whose paths to stardom began in Utah.
They will be among those to perform at the event that will also feature words of support from NFL Hall of Famer and former BYU quarterback Steve Young and “Dancing With The Stars” judge Julianne Hough who are lending their voices to what organizers hope all in Utah can champion: support for youth.
“We applaud the LoveLoud Festival for LGBTQ Youth’s aim to bring people together to address teen safety and to express respect and love for all of God’s children,” says a statement released by the LDS Church. “We join our voice with all who come together to foster a community of inclusion in which no one is mistreated because of who they are or what they believe.”
The statement continued: “We share common beliefs, among them the pricelessness of our youth and the value of families. We earnestly hope this festival and other related efforts can build respectful communication, better understanding and civility as we all learn from each other.”
The event is the brainchild of Dan Reynolds, lead singer of the Grammy Award-winning band Imagine Dragons, who was seeking a safe place to put differences aside between the LGBTQ and faith communities to promote love and acceptance of LGBTQ youth.
“LoveLoud is about is bringing our community together to talk about how we can love our LGBTQ youth, how we can make them feel accepted and loved within the community so that these suicide rates drop,” Reynolds said, noting the increased risk of suicide among LGBTQ youth and others who feel bullied or marginalized.
All proceeds from the event will go to the LoveLoud Foundation, which supports the Utah charities Encircle and Stand4Kind, as well as two national charities, The Trevor Project and GLAAD.
Event organizers have worked for months to try to provide an event that can focus on the common good of helping youth in a safe environment void of divisive politics. Event organizer Lance Lowry emphasized the “need to make a safer community.”
Last day to get your tickets for $11.00 Use the promo code STAND4KIND Loveloudfest.org
We share common beliefs, among them the pricelessness of our youth and the value of families. We earnestly hope this festival and other related efforts can build respectful communication, better understanding and civility as we all learn from each other.”
LOVELOUD Fest was created to bring support and attention to LGBTQ+ youths in Utah. It will feature Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, Krewella, Nicholas Petricca from Walk the Moon(acoustic), Joshua James and Aja Volkman (from Nico Vega, and Reynolds’ wife). These artists are donating their performances, with all concert proceeds going to a number of local and national charities including Encircle, Stand4Kind, The Trevor Project and GLAAD.
Ticket prices are $11-$25, with VIP packages for $200 that include a T-shirt and other memorabilia. Tickets can be purchased on the LOVELOUD website, Smithstix.com or at any Smith’s Tix locations.
Doors open at 4:30 p.m. with music starting at 5:30 p.m. Brent Brown Ballpark is located at 800 W. University Parkway in Orem.
LOVELOUD Fest is intended to be an annual event.
Thanks @lukasgraham & @rosalindwiseman for speaking at our Leadership event. Making a difference and standing 4 kind.
We will see you next school year!!
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