Dr. Jennifer Freed says teens can be leaders in emotional intelligence if they are given the tools and encouragement to take their lives into their own hands. As co-founder of AHA!, an acronym for Attitude, Harmony, and Achievement, Dr. Freed has created a community of youth who are spreading peace and emotional intelligence in school and in their communities. AHA!’s experiential curriculum guides teens to set goals and to stop bullying and hatred. It lends invaluable skills for understanding and managing emotions and relationships. From this place of security in themselves, teens are inspired to do good, achieve in school and serve their community.
In her Vitality webinar for Six Seconds, Dr. Freed explained that so much time is spent focusing on problems with youth, that we rarely get to solutions. She focused on three tips to help teens prosper:
2. To train teens to lead the way to peace, we need to model peaceful communication.
3. Teens can learn to build “Peace-Q”—a form of intelligence that supports the creation of a compassionate, accepting campus culture that is less divided along lines of clique, race, and socioeconomic status. Dr. Freed says,
“These Peace Builder students and educators will have tools to forge strong, constructive, positive and trusting relationships on campus. Students who develop Peace-Q learn to approach conflict and problems peacefully, and to set the example for their peers to do the same. These young people came with complete willingness and dedication…and the feedback was over the moon.”
Her project aims to refocus teens toward positive qualities and goals that can help shape and give meaning to their lives. In a nutshell, she says, teens are more than an aggregate of their problems or behaviors. Through her program, 100 teens were trained to be leaders in the Peace Builders program, which involves the use of active listening circles and restorative to empower participants. These 100 then went and created and ran 1000 similar programs in six months, reaching 5,000 other teens.
This type of broadening of emotional intelligence and “peace-intelligence” in ever-widening circles is very similar to the model Six Seconds uses worldwide. Six Seconds did a training with Dr. Freed’s entire staff, offering them inspiration and models which they have adapted to their work with teens. Here are just a few skills taught by their program: Bullying, Character development, Coming of age, Compassionate communication, Confidence-building and positive risk-taking,, Conflict management, Conscious and responsible sexuality, Emotional intelligence and more!
To learn more about the AHA! program see their website: http://ahasb.org/. Or, to view Dr. Freed’s Six Seconds webinar for Vitality, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/teens-can-lead-the-way-to-peace-vitality-tickets-15701829595