Over the 11 years of operation, the Gompers Middle School judo program has done far more than improve the physical conditioning of the youth that work out on its mats.
To participate in the program, youth are required to maintain a 2.5 GPA, regular attendance at school and at judo practice and have no school disciplinary issues. The program provides judo uniforms and lessons at no cost. Each year, students have one or more trips out of the area that combine judo with cultural and educational events. Past events have included a road trip to a judo camp in Salt Lake City, with a stop on the way to train at a club in Las Vegas. While in Utah, students hiked in the canyons and attended their first rodeo. During a trip to Washington, D.C. for a judo camp, students also visited the Smithsonian and toured Georgetown University.
The local high school has a 57% graduation rate – in contrast to 100% of Gompers Judo students who graduate high school (students begin in middle school but can continue through high school). When the after school program no longer had funding to provide meals after school and water fountains were turned off to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the teacher-volunteers were funding all of the expenses out of their own pocket. The Strong Mind Strong Body Foundation provided a small grant to cover operating expenses for the program, including insurance, water bottles, water, after school snacks and cleaning supplies.
Recently, we announced the partnership between Strong Mind Strong Body Foundation and 7 Generation Games to provide free educational resources to students in order to help them face: risk of child sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence in the home, and creating a safety plan among others. We had several people ask us the same questions.
What about Android apps?
Our first release was only of apps for iPhones. Many counselors reached out to us and said the apps were great but what about students or programs that only had Android phones or tablets? Never let it be said that we don’t listen. As of today you can get early access to Crossroads: Choices and Crossroads: Options in the Google Play Store.
Do you have any activities or lessons that go with these apps?
Why, yes, we do. Here is our first contributed activity. Feel free to copy and use in your counseling, Family Life classes or any other program where youth need to learn about health decisions, support and resources.
Personal Support Network
Hi, it’s me, Angie, here with some good advice. I was thinking today about all the people that answered my survey in Crossroads: Options about support. Thanks, you are the best! Also, I got an A in my class in college, so thanks again.
I was thinking about what people said about who they had to support them and I think maybe some people don’t realize how much support there could be for them out in the community
People who support you in positive changes don’t have to be your best friends and they don’t have to be people who would pay your rent or let you move into their house, although if you do have friends like that, lucky you. Part of your safety plan can be making a list of all of the people you could call for anything. Let’s take Jessie, for example. We’re cousins and I know her but not super well. If she wanted to quit hanging out with Dylan, and believe me, she should, there might be a night when she was really feeling lonesome and thought of calling him up.
There’s a saying that sometimes God sends your ex back into your life just to see if you’re still stupid.
Instead of calling Dylan, she could call me. When I’m staying at my dad’s, I’d be thrilled to hear from her – from, anybody, really. I don’t know anyone in the city he lives in and I’m bored watching YouTube videos all day. If I’m at my mom’s she could come over and watch a movie and eat popcorn. I’m not saying every day, but if she called me and said, “Hey, can I come over and hang out because I don’t want Dylan to think I’m home alone,” I’d say, “Sure.”
I was thinking of this and I made a people map. Hey, don’t judge me. Inside are my grandma, my mom and my older sister, Ashley, because I can ask them for just about anything. If it was money 💰 to pay the rent, a ride to the store, someone to cry to about that guy I was with last year and then I found out he was going behind the gym and doing things with that – well, never mind, you get the idea.
Then there are people who I call my backup crew. Like, Auntie Jean, who lives up in Canada. If I was really in trouble, she’d be there, like when my parents got divorced and I didn’t want to see either of them for a few weeks, she let me come stay with her. Or that time my car broke down and I didn’t have the money to fix it and I needed it to get to work. Did you know that the tribal vocational rehabilitation program will pay for car repair? My counselor, Rick, is cool, too. I can call him and talk to him about problems at work, too. Do you know how many times he has talked me out of walking out of that place? Sometimes, you just need someone to hear you out.
Then, there are my besties, Rose and Sam. Talk about people who will hear you out! Sam is my cousin, too. While my other cousins are okay, I see them maybe once a month. Sam has been in the same grade with me since kindergarten. We live in the same town. Our moms are sisters. He basically knows everything about me and when he heard about that guy we aren’t mentioning he went over there and told him if he ever talked to me again or came near my house – well, he just better not do it. Rose has lived next to me since I can remember and we have been friends just as long. If I’m having a bad day, she always has a joke and is ready to hear me out.
Then, there is the side crew. These are the people I know from basketball or school. If I am feeling a little down and just want to talk to someone about nothing important or get up and get some exercise, they are good for that. I can call them and get a homework assignment I missed in class.
Sometimes people disappoint me because I think they are in one spot as support and it turns out they’re not. And, sometimes people surprise me.
Try making your own people map
First of all, my mom says it’s called a “Personal Support Network.” Whatever. 🙄
My grandma says you should always think about what you should do in a situation before you have to deal with it. She says that is why soldiers have basic training. They don’t end up in a war and wonder which end of the rifle to shoot with. Did I tell you my grandma joined the army when she was 18? How bad ass is that? My coach says we have practice because we don’t make up strategy on the court.
Anyway, try making your own people map so when you are thinking of who can support you some day, you have it down. Mine isn’t terribly artistic, but, hey, I did my best.
Crossroads: New Decisions is the second app in the Crossroads: A Game of Choices series.This social-emotional learning game is aimed at teaching positive decision-making to players 13 and older.
The Crossroads series is an innovative new tool aimed at facilitating conversations around healthy decision making and substance abuse for youth suffering from or considered at risk for substance abuse. Crossroads is a supplemental tool to assist therapy and care providers in teaching and assessing youth through a game-based format. Crossroads collects no identifying information, and as a standalone version is intended for educational purposes only. All Crossroads games are free to download.
In all of the Crossroads series, players navigate through virtual real-world scenarios where they are tasked with making decisions.
Situations in New Decisions include:
Driving under the influence;
Having a Safety plan;
Correct decisions lead to engaging game play and players are rewarded with in-game currency they can spend in the game’s virtual store. Incorrect decisions lead to information on how to make better choices and an opportunity to try again.
Access to data reporting for research is available on a case-by-case basis
Please note that no personally identifying data is collected. If therapeutic program staff are interested in data reports, access can be provided. Be aware that Strong Mind Strong Body Foundation does NOT have individual identifying information and the only way for program staff members to have access to data from youth is if the individual provides his or her username to the staff member. To obtain access to de-identified data for research purposes, or data reporting for specific program use, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you within three business days.
Maybe you’ve never thought very much about who you could go to stay with for a few days if you need to get out of a bad situation. Perhaps you’ve never really thought it through, that if you need to get away from someone right now it can be done in stages. You could go to that person who will let you stay for a week or so while you figure out what to do next.
If you’re going to be on your own some day, you need to start thinking about what bills you’ll have to pay, how much you’ll have to make each month. Next step is finding a job. How do you pick a job? Even if you’re talking entry level jobs, there are choices. Which would be a better fit for you?
Where do you draw the line that someone is just bad news and you don’t want them in your life?
When you’re in an emotional situation, whether it’s dating violence or trying to figure out how to get home when you’re in the middle of nowhere and all of your friends are wasted, that’s not when you’re going to make your best decisions.
Does having thought about the possibilities in advance guarantee you’ll always make the right choice?
No, of course not, just like planning a strategy in practice doesn’t guarantee you will win. I can promise you this, though – it will improve your odds.