In December 2007, Michael Jascz, a New York City-based relationship coach, was invited to speak to a group at a high school, the Lab School, in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. After the presentation, the attending administrator emailed the principal saying he had not seen a group of students transformed in 42 minutes in his ten years at the school. Subsequently, the school invited Michael to teach Relationship Education as a component of Health Ed. In 2008, The Relationship Foundation was established. Today, the program has greatly expanded to become an extensive curriculum called Healthy Relationships 101. It has been taken into schools in the New York City area as well as across the country, reaching more than 500 students through workshops, assemblies and classes. The Relationship Foundation has also developed programs and workshops for parents that tie in with the student curriculum. We have a professional development program for staff and teachers that allows for daily instruction.
We seek to build a safer, more harmonious society by establishing Social and Emotional Learning as a core component of the learning process: raising awareness of the need for Relationship Education in the curricula of America’s schools.
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Ohio State University: Columbus, Ohio (B.A. in Social Sciences: May, 1973) • Honors Program, 1968-1973 • Founder and Director, Inner-City Junior High Tutoring Program
The Relationship Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) educational initiative that incorporates a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum, Healthy Relationships 101, in New York City high schools. We have also published a book by the same title. We use a process called “Nonviolent Communication” (NVC) that gives one the tools to identify and articulate their needs and feelings without blame and judgment. We also teach an approach to listening empathically. Students and teachers alike acknowledge that building a vocabulary of needs and feelings enhances their critical thinking, empathy, and respect. We have made major strides towards fulfilling our mission, particularly with regards to bullying. In the face of increased threats to the security and safety of children, our work highlights the importance of strengthening resilience in all children as a preventive strategy to enhance and protect their psychological well-being. Although we are making a difference, substantial challenges persist. Research shows that over 75 percent of mental health disorders have their roots in the childhood and adolescent years. Millions of children never receive any kind of Social and Emotional instruction. In the coming year, we will continue to work to help give children back their childhood.