Creating a stronger generation of BC Youth

The Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia aims to make a real difference to high-risk youth living in BC.

This commitment has led to the creation of two youth development initiatives: the Struggling Youth Research Network and the Social Emotional Learning program. Both aim to help  children and youth face learning and life challenges, so they can move on to lead healthy and productive lives.

The purpose of the Struggling Youth Research Network is to address the most serious problems facing BC families before children, frustrated and dejected by their circumstances, lash out and end up entangled in the legal system.

Young people labelled as offenders severely limit their development potential and opportunities.  Doors close, leaving them trapped in cycles of delinquency, abuse, and violence. Through the Struggling Youth Research Network, different groups are working together to study the patterns that lead to destructive behaviour and come up with solutions to get troubled youth back on the right track.

UBC also recently introduced an education course for teachers that focuses on Social Emotional Learning—the first of its kind in North America.

Social Emotional Learning teaches children how to recognize and manage their emotions, make responsible decisions, establish a caring attitude, and handle challenging situations effectively. Many educators have cited the need for such a program, but it wasn’t understood well enough to be used in the school curriculum—until now.

For the better part of a decade, Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl and Dr. Shelley Hymel have been collecting and generating scientific evidence to help the community understand the influence Social Emotional Learning has on academic performance, health, relationships, and the general well-being of children. These efforts finally culminated in the creation of UBC’s new teacher education course.

Initiatives like the Struggling Youth Research Network and Social Emotional Learning course are just two examples of how the Faculty of Education at UBC is applying education to address social challenges—from poverty and minority rights to inequality and injustice. Both programs act as a stepping-stone, enabling troubled youth to overcome obstacles and develop into emotionally healthy and productive adults—a benefit to their communities.

Your contributions to projects like the Struggling Youth Research Network and Social Emotional Learning Program will have long lasting and far-reaching effects. Make your donation today or contact us to learn more about how you can support the University of British Columbia.

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