Youth Empowerment Seminar

Unity Prep addresses the profound effect that chronic stress has on students’ academic and socio-emotional development through the implementation of the Youth Empowerment Seminar (YES!), which is built into our daily schedule.  YES! promotes emotional health and well-being through interactive games, yoga and meditation, team-building activities, group discussions, and community service projects. Each year, students participate in two 10-hour YES! training modules (with curricula that vary by grade). The YES! curriculum is then put into practice daily both as part of our Advisory and following lunch, before students embark on their afternoon courses. Highlights of the modules and daily curriculum include:

  • Discussions, games, and team projects that help students internalize the main points of the YES! course and use them on a daily basis; these points pertain to values and character strengths such as taking responsibility, expressing gratitude, not allowing others’ opinions and comments to cause students to think or behave destructively, and utilizing teamwork
  • Simple, effective breathing and meditation techniques that students can practice before and during the school day to promote calmness, focus, and energy
  • Certified instructors teaching students lessons that meet the New York State Social and Emotional Development and Learning Guidelines

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Faculty members are trained to facilitate the YES! curriculum. They know the techniques, vocabulary, and themes unique to the course and are able to incorporate them into their classrooms and communicate positively and effectively with their students. Student murals will cover the walls of the school, with phrases such as “Be Buttonproof! Laugh and Let Go,” “Responsibility Increases Ability,” “Act, Don’t React,” and “Choose the Harder Right Over the Easier Wrong.”