Save the Children was the first organization to prioritize children’s needs in the aftermath of disasters in the United States. Our Journey of Hope program, developed in 2005 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, provides early education centers, schools and communities in the United States with structured programs to support social and emotional development.

Protecting America’s Kids

Social and Emotional Learning Programs

No child lives without risk to challenging experiences. Whether it’s stress due to chronic poverty or stressful experiences in the aftermath of a devastating natural disaster, providing children with immediate and long-term emotional support enables their recovery while fostering resilience.

Across the United States, children face a wide array of risk factors, each with the potential to disrupt healthy social, emotional, academic and physical development. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, up to 90% of children and youth experience trauma, which can affect a child’s development.

Save the Children offers several social and emotional learning programs to support kids and their healthy development. Research shows that social and emotional learning programs work. Children exposed to these kinds of programs have notable long-term academic outcomes. In addition, behavior problems, emotional distress and drug use are all significantly lower for children who participate in social and emotional learning programs, and they are more likely to have positive attitudes toward themselves, others and school.

Journey of Hope

Save the Children developed Journey of Hope in 2005, following the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina. Journey of Hope is a child-informed program that draws on children’s strengths to support their resilience. It offers an age-specific curriculum designed to help children and their caregivers understand, process and express their feelings and emotions. The program builds healthy coping skills through structured games, stories and positive behaviors in a safe, small group setting. It helps children identify emotions and understand that it’s normal to feel angry, sad or frustrated during scary or difficult situations. Here is the story of one such child. Meet Abigail.

Because Save the Children works across the United States in communities with many needs and few resources, we offer Journey of Hope in everyday settings and following natural disasters. The Journey of Hope training model is a train-the-facilitator design that provides communities the opportunity to expand their capacity to deliver high-quality, school-based social and emotional learning programs for years to come. Plus, a 2015 study by researchers at Columbia University shows that the benefits of social and emotional learning programs exceed the costs at a rate of 11 to 1.i This means, for every dollar invested in Journey of Hope facilitator training, there is a return of $11.

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