Cordan James and the Comeback Kids is in the business of transforming lives through Healing, Advocacy, Resilience and Discipline.
I’m excited to share with you a new SEL program now available to our students across New Hampshire. The Comeback Kids Mentorship Program was founded locally in Manchester, NH by Cordan James, a father, Iraq veteran, and transracial adoptee.
Proudly partnered with WhyTry? The Comeback Kids Mentorship Program coaches’ youth and their families throughout a condensed 9 week, or 18-week semester long evidence-based course. The WhyTry program was developed by Christian Moore, a licensed clinical social worker over 20 years ago, and is being taught in schools, youth programs, correctional facilities, and more across all 50 states. Our program has been designed around a social and emotional learning program (SEL) that is defined by CASEL as :
“The process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions”. -The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
WhyTry has been shown to improve:
- Improvement in all areas of academics; Increased resilience
- Over 90% increase in student willingness to keep trying
- Reduced failing grades by 47%
- Average GPA increase of 11%
- Less disciplinary referrals and a decrease in fighting/bullying/aggressive behaviors.
- Reduced expulsions
- Emotional and social behavior
- Improved graduation rates
- Improve Student Self-Esteem and Creating a Positive Outlook Toward the Future
“SEL is rocket fuel for the brain”
So, what does WhyTry look like in the classroom? One of our certified mentors will come to you! For one hour a week over the course of 9,18 or 36 weeks, we will focus on teaching a classroom, auditorium, or after school program, critical social and emotional life skills. Using the 10 WhyTry visual metaphors, our structured course includes relevant music, videos, learning activities, and journals that promotes engagement of all ages.
WhyTry doesn’t just benefit the students, throughout this process, we can train YOUR staff to continue the WhyTry program, strengthening resilience for years to come. Plus with NSPCA you'll earn 7 (CE).Here’s what some teachers and guidance counselors are saying about WhyTry:
- Community and Belonging – Mentees don’t have to journey alone! Join a community of peers and mentors to participate in a number of group socials, volunteer events, wellness activities and social justice workshops.
- Personal and Professional Development – Set goals and action planning through biweekly 1:1s with a dedicated Comeback Mentor
- SEL/Life Skills – Teach core competencies for effective decision making, confidence building and resilience through social and emotional learning (Why Try?)
“After the WhyTry training, our school was buzzing!! The culture has transformed from pessimism to optimism… from no hope to a renewed feeling of power and ideas” -Lindsay Morris, School Counselor
“Very, very well done and organized, this program is incredibly complete and well thought out, masterfully scope and sequenced, it’s all here, totally visual and participatory. There is a very solid base to this “pyramid”. If presented to kids (with full fidelity) we will see them attain greater success.” -Spencer Robinson, Teacher, Farmington Bay Youth Center
The Why Try Program
The Why Try Program was created to provide simple, hands-on solutions for dropout prevention, violence prevention, truancy reduction, and increased academic success.
The idea is straightforward: teach social and emotional principles to youth in a way they can understand and remember. The Why Try curriculum utilizes a series of ten visual analogies that teach important life skills like
- Decisions have consequences
- Dealing with peer pressure
- Obeying laws and rules
- Plugging-in to support systems
The visual analogies are reinforced through creative use of music, hands-on activities, and multimedia. WhyTry curriculum engages all major learning styles (visual, auditory, and body-kinesthetic).
Sample of WhyTry Learning Units
1: Show them that decisions have consequences.
"The Reality Ride" uses a picture of a roller coaster to demonstrate that each decision we make has a consequence. The decisions we make today directly affect the future.
2. Tearing off your label
"Tearing Off Your Label" teaches that negative labels can hurt your future, and positive labels can help you achieve your goals and attain better opportunities. Ultimately, the label you wear depends on you: you can change your negative labels by changing your actions and showing others your positive traits.
"Defense Mechanisms" teaches that pressure situations are best handled by maintaining control of our emotions and selecting positive defense mechanisms (those that don't hurt yourself or others).
The Motivation Formula
"The Motivation Formula" uses a picture of a river running through dams to show how you can take your challenges and channel them into positive motivation: first to better yourself, then to turn outward and help others.