I have seen how the life of many children and their families has change in a positive way. SFK provide the education that any human being needs to have the tools to make this world a better place. I'm a big fan!!!
SFK is essential. Let's teach our kids that they are amazing and have access to incredible tools to overcome challenges and reach greatness. SFK shows us how to access these tools and so much more - for kids and adults - in a fun and meaningful way. SFK rocks!
I attended a volunteers orientation at the LA office and felt so much better prepared to raise the children I'll have one day by learning the techniques used to teach universal values. I feel privileged to have the chance to collaborate.
I got to know SFK's teacher's training program in 2010. I spent four days with the most amazing people I've ever met. Those four days, I must say, totally changed my life! I hope I will have the opportunity to volunteer next year:)
All of us, especially kids, see the world through the paradigm we learn from our family, and believe that paradigm is the ultimate TRUTH, the one and only way to think and function in the world. SFK gives kids an alternate perspective, and therefore a choice in how they can conduct themselves and live their lives. SFK uses stories, games, and personal examples to demonstrate that real satisfaction and lasting fulfillment is attained by caring for themselves and others, sharing with others, and putting forth effort, rather than selfishly thinking only of themselves and taking the quick and easy way out. Moreover, SFK teaches that we are all connected, another concept that is often counterintuative. SFK shows kids how to take a proactive role in their own lives. SFK targets its program to kids who are at-risk from gang and drug infested inpoverished neighborhoods. However, everyone can benefit from these lessons at any age. As a teacher's assistant, you are forced to confront the ways in which you listen to your opponent's voice to act selfishly or engage in reactive behavior, so the class becomes as much a journey for you as for the kids. Understanding that the class structure is a work in progress, I've witnessed long sessions with too many concepts for the kids to assimilate at one time, and brief sessions that are all talk and not enough physical movement. Without a physical activity at the outset of class, the kids get too restless & can't remain focused on the teacher. Also, the shorter class doesn't afford the time needed to give the kids responsibility for handing out materials, leading their own discussion groups, or taking anything but a passive role in class. Sometimes locating and distributing name tags becomes too time consuming so that the teacher and TA never learn the kids' names. I have also witnessed teachers forsake using SFK tools to discipline kids for traditional scholding and admonishments in a race to cover the material and complete the art or writing project. Whereas the long classes had very time consuming pre and post class meetings, the short sessions afford no time whatsoever to discuss situations or issues that arise in class.
I was always so impressed at how positively the kids responded to the work and information they are presented. And their enthusiasm for it. How well they retained the lessons from their previous classes and applied it in their lives outside the classroom. Found myself thinking I wish I had heard this stuff when I was their age. It clearly has an impact on them that empowers them to be more thoughtful and caring individuals.
I was (am) a counselor for LAUSD and worked with these children and their families. I knew that this program would be just the thing to help these families learn how to thrive emotionally and socially. These tools were so valuable to these families and to me too! I loved facilitating these classes each Sunday and watched the families grow and change and become more loving to one another. I still see some of these families some 8 years later. I helped bring SFK to the schools in LAUSD which also was such a joy and huge achievement. I loved seeing this in the schools as I believe these tools are so important for everyone's lives. It was a very very rewarding time. I loved the program! Thank you so much for all you do!
It is the most wonderful organization in the world. The way the lives of children are transformed is something I can't put into words. watching it happen right in front of your eyes is absolutely magical. One has to really be a part of this amazing work to know what its all about. I recommend it to anyone who loves working with children
I've decided to join the SFK after learning about the their Brilliant Curriculum and felt that I would like to give the children the tools to maximize their potential and become a better person for themselves and to Society, rather than give them temporary solutions.
I want to express my outmost appreciation for the tremendous opportunity to be a part of SFK; and to have been able to share in the experience of a lifetime, last year at Holmes Elementary. When the children start looking up to you in the classroom, you know every small action you do will shape the rest of their lives. This filled me with a tremendous responsibility and a never before felt desire to be good, and to do good, by them, their teachers, their families and eventually the world. To be a part of a movement like this is an unbelievable blessing. The moments we shared at Holmes elementary changed my life for the better and I can’t wait to get back in the classroom. Thanks! All the best to your organization!
The value of the lessons and the experience that I received as a volunteer over several years participation with SFK are exponentially greater than for any other volunteer experience I have had. I know that for the students, their lives changed altogether. I saw the changes taking place in their art work-they used more vibrant colors, drew happier images etc. I noticed the improvement in their self-esteem and their ability to interact with others. I watched over the months and years as they described how different their lives at home had become. I saw that SFK gave these children tools with which to empower themselves, and they were able to make great strides and changes in their lives as a result. It was wonderful to work with this organization that cares, on a very real level about making changes at a seed level, changes that will go on to impact the global community for years to come.
SFK teaches children about the rules of the game of life. we saw kinds really have the understanding of how to choose their good voice over their negative voice. it was an amazing experience to see them transform so radically.
As a Special Education teacher, I have always felt that the public school system, in order to save money, has concentrated only on academic curricula, not addressing the whole child and their preparation to be fully-functioning citizens. SFK addresses the missing component, exposing students to the social, emotional and life skills necessary to be successful in the real world. I have worked as a teacher's aide in some of their classrooms and found the program to be fun, easy to understand and the information to be extremely valuable. Their teachers are well-trained and their relationship with the classroom teacher leads to the inclusion of the material into the regular school curriculum. Several classroom teachers have told me that they love the program and have seen vast differences in their students' peer relationships, self-esteem and classroom demeanor greatly improve after their exposure to the program. My hope is that before long, all schools will offer the SFK program.
I have always loved kids and had been searching for volunteer opportunities. I became aware of the SFK program and after a meeting they had for all potential volunteers, realized this was what I had been waiting for. I was fortunate enough to be involved with SFK Outreach program and volunteered with the kids every Sunday for over 5 years. At first, I was most excited to be there to help show the kids all the wonderful things SFK has to offer. How it can help change their lives, become loving and kinder people and give them tools to make better choices in any given situation. But I must confess, within the first month, I was the one learning from them! The appreciation they had for what they were being taught, the empowerment they felt over their own lives, only served to remind ME to live a kinder life. To see a child come to class for the first time, shy, quiet and nervous sitting in the back of the room and then to see how they had evolved over time, into a child that felt secure and could stand up in front of all the other kids to give a speech, act out a skit, share something they learned, and to be proud of who they were was beyond amazing. To hear from a 13 year old girl, that used to believe the only way to protect herself was with her fists and hurtful words, who would yell at her mother and other kids at school, realize that there is a better way to resolve things and use the tools that were taught was not only life changing for her, but for me as well. I also cannot say enough about the fantastic group of teachers that are a part of SFK. These are people that are not just giving of their time, but giving of their heart. They made every volunteer feel as if they were the most important person on earth and were always welcoming our suggestions. We were a team. And that also translated to how they dealt with the kids. The level of respect they showed the children was beautiful to see. Some of these children came from a tough neighborhood and broken homes overcoming so many obstacles daily, situations you cannot imagine. The respect they were given helped to give them self esteem and to realize they are valued and loved and can achieve anything they want. I was helping a 9 year old boy answer some questions we had given them the first day of class so we could learn a bit more about them. One of the questions was what do you wish for. This was about 6 years ago but I've never forgotten his response. After he thought for a moment he said, "to live in a safe neighborhood". Now, how many of us would respond that way to the same question? While there was nothing I could do to change his living situation, what we could do and did do, was give him tools to better handle what he was going thru. What they were taught informed every aspect of their lives. To hear them tell stories of how they shared what they learned at SFK with their friends, and how excited they were in being able to do that was so amazing. Because they became teachers as well without even realizing it. What a glorious world we would live in if we all realized the importance of being kind, of sharing and of also accepting responsibilities for our own actions. These are just some of the things the children were taught. I am so proud to say that I was a part of SFK and was a part of bringing such a positive, life changing program into the lives of these children.
"When I started volunteering as an SFK Facilitator, I was teaching the concepts that I learned but along the way something that I cannot explain happen. I felt that I grew in a strange way. Like if I had an organ around me that expanded and then suddenly, I experienced a jump in understanding. After that, I found myself explaining the concepts of the Opponent, Effort, Cause/Effect with such clarity in an effortless way that I can truly say that no other job has provided me with such an awareness and understanding of Life than working with kids." Paloma Vidal
My challenge was to teach public speaking to students, their parents, their grandparents and other family members at the same time in one classroom. The curriculum had to capture the imagination and interest of everyone from ages 6 to 76 and many in the audience were Spanish speaking and of course I didn't speak a word of Spanish. To put it bluntly, I was scared because I had to use an interpreter in order to communicate with the parents and grandparents. SFK's curriculum is all about conquering fears so I put my personal fears aside and worked with three colleagues to develop a theme for the class that would motivate everyone to stick with the ten week class until the end. We created our own version of 'Oscar Night' where each student would be a star and have an opportunity to get up on stage and give their speech. We enticed the students by offering them Star treatment like make-up and hair touch-ups, an opportunity to walk down the red carpet to take photos, and invited special guests from the Hollywood acting community. We were delighted with the results ... 100% participation. Everyone from ages 6 to 76 got up on the stage and gave their speeches and the smiles of achievement and accomplishment were amazing. Grandparents motivated their grandchildren by being willing to get up on the stage and give their speeches. It became a fantastic event to improved family dynamics, create more sharing and caring within the family, and everyone felt special and like a 'Hollywood Star.' A few months later we did an assessment of the event and found that the event had a profound effect on many of the participants. For example some of the students gained the courage to run for offices at their school; some students decided to join their school's debate team; some thought about pursuing their dream of becoming a lawyer or teacher or going into the theatre. What everyone learned was caring and sharing and treating others with human dignity brings happiness and joy and a strong sense of personal purpose. Public Speaking which previously was considered a FEAR was transformed into a personal Self-Esteem GROWTH EXPERIENCE. SFK consistently creates opportunities for Volunteers which are unusual, rewarding as well as challenging. SFK creates success for their teaching team, the students and the Volunteers.