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On-Site Staff / Program Design, Development, and Quality / Staff Leadership and Management

Meet The Authors Guest Blog: 3 Simple Ways To Build Up The Hearts & Spirits Of Your Kids

Meet The Authors Guest Blog: 3 Simple Ways To Build Up The Hearts & Spirits Of Your Kids

We are pleased to introduce you to Julia Gabor and Jeffrey Jordan, Breakfast Club Bloggers and Meet the Authors contributors. You can meet Julia and Jeffrey and buy a signed copy of their book kid-grit: THE BOOK at the BOOST Conference in Palm Springs, CA, May 1 & 2 at Booth 301 in the Exhibit Hall.  Enjoy their Breakfast Club blog below!


We strongly believe in a few holistic approaches to youth development.  Using ice breakers to break down barriers and help build their toolbox towards resiliency is one philosophy. Below are three tips to help you build up your students.

The Check-In: Get a pulse check of how your kids are doing when they come into your classroom

Light and Dark

  • Light: Have students share a success, small win, or something positive that happened. Dark: Have students share a challenge they experienced or something they can use more support with.
  • Give students 30 seconds to a few minutes to sit silently and reflect on their light and dark. Then give students 5-10 minutes to jot down ideas on a piece of paper.
  • In a circle, ask students to share only if they want to.

Decompress: Give students a chance to get centered and breathe in order to be productive during program.

Ground them with a ‘Mindful Minute’

Cleveland Afterschool All-Stars

  • Ask students to stand up and breathe. Say “Plant your feet and find a neutral stance.”
  • Say “Tune in to your body. Lower your gaze. Scan your body and notice physical sensations or emotions. Let go of any negative sensations, emotions or feelings on the out breath.”
  • Say “Notice your surroundings. Lift your eyes and take in the environment. Find something that is pleasant and be grateful for it and its beauty.”
  • Bring the students back to neutral. Ask them how they feel following that quick mindful activity.

Connect: Give students the opportunity to learn and appreciate differences in one another and then also find similarities. This builds tolerance and empathy.

Find ice breakers that encourage cultural diversity. Have students work with new friends, mix up the groups, let them see and experience new people to expand their horizons.

Think Together, West Valley

  • Any icebreaker that has students working in teams, where they collaborate, think critically and creatively will help them develop skills that build tolerance and natural empathy for each other.
  • Google ‘Cultural Diversity Ice Breakers’ for additional ideas.

For breakfast, we eat greek yogurt with sweet berries and honey, coffee and connection. 

Author: @juliagabor and @jeffreyjordan

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In 2014, Julia was awarded the Women Making a Difference by U.S. Senator of California Lou Correa for her contributions in youth programming in Orange County, CA. In, 2013 Julia received the OSTI award from BOOST for her contribution to out-of-school time individuals by providing innovative approaches to support students, families and communities. Julia currently develops tailored training's and facilitates workshops for educators, non-profit organizations, mentor professionals and students. She works with you to create strategies for educational programs to enhance student success and a productive future. She also will establish effective practices for staff communication and leadership. As the Director of Education at WRiTE BRAiN WOLRD Julia is built, expanded and introduced the WRiTE BRAiN BOOKS curriculum into education communities across the country. WRiTE BRAiN BOOKS inspires creativity while applying project- based literacy and builds 21st Century skills. In only two and a half years WRiTE BRAiN BOOKS is being implemented in 41 states with 45,000 student becoming published authors of their own children’s book. While at the Tiger Woods Foundation (TWF), Julia launched a college internship program for sports management, hospitality, event planning and marketing majors from universities across the country. Julia develops specialized programs ranging from activity based curriculum in a variety of different educational areas to creating a collegiate mentor program. Starting in 2006, Julia managed a national character education program called- Tiger's Action Plan, a free youth development curriculum that focuses on leadership, goal setting, service learning and career exploration. Prior to joining TWF, Julia was a Coordinator for the After School All - Stars in Los Angeles, where she taught a range of middle school enrichment classes- from personal leadership to sports, to performance and visual art classes. Julia has been teaching/leading groups since she was a teenager working alongside her mother, who is an acting teacher and coach in the USA and Europe. Julia has served as a trainer/facilitator in disguised learning and cultural diversity throughout California. In 2009, Julia received the Honored Educator Award from California State Fullerton University for dedication to education in Orange County, CA. Miss Gabor is a graduate of the State University of New York, Fredonia receiving her bachelor's degree in the Fine Arts. She received her Master’s in Educational Leadership from Antioch University in 2012.

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