is a resource for caring adults—the front-line staff in schools and community based programs—to help teens who are struggling with difficult emotions.
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Activities For Youth
The learning activities below provide concrete strategies to explore the issues and feelings that emerge from reading one of our teen-written stories. The activities have two important goals: they help youth to develop social and emotional learning skills and they help you build a trusting relationship with the teen. When selecting and presenting an activity, make sure to:
  • Think ahead of time about how the teen will respond to the activity.
  • Engage in personal reflection to anticipate your own responses.
  • Be willing to try new things and model a spirit of open-minded exploration.
  • Be flexible and responsive. If the teen gets stuck or is resistant, do not push the activity. Think of ways to adjust it, try something different, or just take a break.
  • Learn more about the teen by asking open-ended questions. Their responses should inform your choice of story and activity for the next time you meet.
  • Be OK with silence and offer significant wait time for responses. Don't feel that you have to fill the space with advice or your own thoughts. Just let the quiet be and then gently move on.
  • Help your teen learn about their unique learning styles and processing needs. Do they like to write? Discuss? Express themselves creatively? Or is simply being in a quiet and safe space the most helpful thing at that moment? We offer activities that focus on discussion, writing, creative expression, or mindfulness so you can choose the option that best meets your teen's needs.

Have teen readers "talk back" to the writer using writing prompts that promote positive self-talk and interpersonal communication. (full text)

This informal writing activity allows teens to reflect privately and make connections between their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. (full text)

This simple activity, which helps youth connect with their feelings and manage strong emotions, is an easy way to prep teens for other mindfulness practices. (full text)

Regulating strong emotions can be difficult in the moment; this activity helps teens think of self-care strategies so they're prepared for those inevitable tough moments. (full text)

Structured discussion in a community circle helps teens feel heard and respected. Use circle in conjunction with our stories to delve into difficult topics. (full text)

Help teens feel invested in the group--and encourage an inclusive atmosphere--by asking them to decide how you'll work together. (full text)

Try these open-ended questions to guide teens to think about how the themes, emotions, and choices in a story relate to their own lives. (full text)

Show teens how to grow their social and emotional learning skills by building a feelings vocabulary. (full text)

Use stories to help teens understand the needs beneath their feelings. (full text)