When asked about her day at school, 4th grader Kanisha told her Friend Daquana that she’d gotten into an argument.
Kanisha has a consistent, strong group of friends that have been together since preschool. Her friends love each other, they are reliable, loyal, and good at holding each other accountable. But they struggle with nurturing positive relationships, and they are not always compassionate towards one another. They often name call, bully, and can be very unkind. On this particular day, the negative interactions had escalated, and Kanisha was deeply upset.
A key focus area at Friends-Chicago is to help children develop prosocial skills, including being able to identify their own feelings and the feelings of others. With Daquana’s help, Kanisha set a goal to build a team of support that makes her feel good about herself.
Together they are reading The Skin I’m In, a book that tackles topics of self-esteem, bullying, body image, colorism, and the power of friendship. They read a little bit from the book each outing and talk about the questions it raises together.
Daquana is also using the book 101 Ways to Teach Kids to Have Social Skills to help Kanisha interact with her friends in a more positive way. Kanisha also journals with focused prompts from Daquana that encourage her to reflect on the qualities that make a good friend.
Kanisha is better able to recognize and express when her friends are hurting her feelings. She – and they – still have lots of learning to do as they navigate honesty, loyalty, and their desire to hold their group together.
Friends-Chicago will be with Kanisha throughout this journey as an integral part of her team of support, teaching her conflict resolution skills and empowering her to love herself.