My Voice My Community
Responding to stress with strength

Sara Caselle, 3rd Grade Teacher, Kirkbride School, 1st year with Need In Deed

Sara Caselle’s 3rd grade class at Kirkbride Elementary includes a large number of students who are immigrants. As the class debated what social issue they should choose, the students shared their concerns about the current political climate around immigrants and immigration. Issues of racism, discrimination, and violence were all sources of anxiety for these young people. As a result, the students chose stress as the issue that most affected them and their community. To learn more about their issue, they have studied the physiological and psychological effects of stress and different ways to cope. They also worked with a neuroscientist to learn how the brain responds to stress, and a Yoga teacher taught them techniques to allay stress by calming the mind and the body.

Teacher Sara Caselle shared a real-world connection that empowered the students. “Half of my students were kept home from school to observe ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ and they learned first hand that they have a voice…that coming together as a community is a way to combat major life stressors. They shared today how stressed they feel when they leave school, even just walking around in our neighborhood. Yet by coming together to find their collective voice they can make an impact.”

Experiencing comfort in community offered the students a real-life opportunity to manage their stress. By guiding students to understand that taking action, expressing their feelings, and sticking together can help lessen stress, Sara Caselle and Need in Deed are providing critical life skills for these young folks that will serve them now and far into the future.