Middle School Social Smarts
Thanks to Licking County Foundation for our STEP UP! Program for teens. STEP UP is a social and emotional learning program which was adapted from the Camp MakeBelieve Kids® 8 Step Program, specifically for the growing teenager. The goal of the STEP UP Program is to prevent self-destructive behaviors and promote optimal mental health in teenagers.
Teens are stressed out for a multitude of reasons; academic, social, sports, romantic, body issues, hormones, bullies and more. STEP UP does not eliminate stress, but teaches kids to cope with stress in a healthy and productive way. This program educates teens and their parents on key social and emotional learning concepts that enhance self-confidence, self-awareness, empathy and social skills, while also giving them tools and strategies for self-control and self-motivation when they need it most.
STEP UP is modeled from the 8 Steps of the Camp MakeBelieve Kids® program and are geared toward helping students:
- Develop healthy social skills
- Label & appropriately express feelings
- Understand and respect boundaries (self and others)
- Demonstrate empathy
- Decrease intensity of negative feelings
- Stop exhibiting and responding to manipulation (bullying, peer pressure)
- Self-regulate thoughts and behavior
- Self-motivate; bounce back with resilience
The STEP UP Program is listed in SAMHSA’s National Registry for Evidence-Based Programs & Practices as an “effective SEL program for improving self-regulation and social competencies”—essential protective factors in the promotion of positive mental health. The Collaborative for Academic Social & Emotional Learning lists STEP UP as an “Evidence-based Complimentary SEL Program,” ideal as a stand-alone prevention course or easily integrated into core subjects.