The Inside Out Club from I Support Community
We live in a time and culture where children are often over-scheduled and competitively conditioned. This lifestyle is exacerbated by a technological dark side that can dominate their psyche, lead to isolation, narcissism and self-absorption. The result is that children are growing up deficient in the “human” skills necessary to thrive in their lives, in school and later in jobs and in their communities.
ISC created the Inside Out Club to attack this issue from a new angle. The Inside Out Club’s mission is to develop children with character inside and out. Club lessons are structured within a “charitable context,” in that they explain a community issue through discussion of a charities addressing the issue and the ways we can help.
What “human” skills do children need? At ISC, we focus on eight traits: acceptance, collaboration, curiosity, gratitude, self-awareness, kindness, empathy and perseverance. Each one of the Inside Out Club lessons is infused with at least one of these skills at its core. Through instruction, dialogue and action in these skills, young people will be on a path to greater humanity.
Starting in DuPage County, our objective is to share these lessons with as many children as possible as often as we can.
The Inside Out Club is offered free of charge so that every child has access to this type of education.
In the classroom: The Inside Out Club is designed for students in grades K-5. It meets monthly for an hour and 15 minutes after school and is led by volunteers. ISC provides the curriculum, training and supplies. Typically, a school offers two sessions—one in the fall and one in the spring—comprised of four lessons each. Sample Inside Out Club lessons include understanding hunger and homelessness, plus caring for the sick.
On the weekend: During the school year we host weekly Inside Out Club events for families with children ages 3 to 12. These meetings take place at a charity or a local community center and provide an opportunity to give back as a family. We discuss why we’re doing what we’re doing so the children can understand the impact and emotionally connect to the activity and learn about a local nonprofit organization.
At home (online): The Inside Out Club @Home program is an online platform to engage children and their parents in weekly lessons and activities around character, mental health/social emotional learning and community action. We link lessons with each character trait, and upon completion of the lessons the student will receive an electronic badge. There will be eight core badges (one per key character trait) that will be earned through various activities including at a minimum reading a book, completing online lessons around that skill and putting the skill into action by getting out into the community.
We are very excited to expand this program. We need your help. Our current needs include in-kind nonprofit accounting and tax work, administrative support and volunteers for the classroom. If you possess one or more of these skills, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact Marion Ruthig, Founder & Executive Director, at email@example.com.
Visit www.isupportcommunity.org to learn more.