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President's Weekly Message (06/18/21)

"Resilience is born from the interplay between internal disposition and external experiences"

Bari Walsh

Hello API Job Corps Centers.

Today’s message is about resilience. COVID-19 has tested our abilities in this area and reminded us of the importance of resilience. Resilience is the ability to cope with life’s adversities and come out stronger from these experiences.

According to WellWo, a site focused on welfare and occupational health, resilience involves accepting life’s good and bad moments, bringing out the positive in all experiences, and continuing to learn and grow. This does not mean that we have to play down the negative moments, but it does mean being able to turn the page and move on with optimism.

Students and staff who model resilience have the following characteristics:

  • They have confidence in themselves and their ability to cope.

  • They have a purpose in life.

  • They know they can influence what happens around them.

  • They learn from life’s experiences, both negative and positive.

  • They are optimistic.

  • Do you have these characteristics?

According to a report from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, the power of one strong adult relationship is a key ingredient in resilience. If we, as Job Corps professionals, want to help instill resilience in our students, we need to understand what creates resilience and what we can do to increase it. Here are some tips:

  1. At least one caring, stable and supportive adult relationship is important in developing resilience. As a Job Corps staff member, we all can play this role for one student. I challenge each of you to find your student and become that caring adult for them. Doc Broaddus, who was a Job Corps counselor and a boxing coach, became that person for one of our most famous Job Corps graduates, George Foreman. Mr. Foreman become an author, entrepreneur and an Olympic and World Champion boxer. You may have heard of or purchased a George Foreman Grill. I have one.

  2. A sense of mastery over life circumstances is an important part of resilience. We can all help our students develop this mastery by showing them, in small steps, what they have already overcome.

  3. Strong self-regulation skills must be present to be resilient. This is something our students need to learn. Self-regulation skills are elements of emotional intelligence that relate to how well one manages thoughts and actions. It includes both behavior and emotions. One of the key functions of Job Corps, particularly in our social development area, is to help our students learn these important skills (not punish them for not having them when they come to us).

Bari Walsh, in an article entitled, The Science of Resilience, states, “Resilience is born from the interplay between internal disposition and external experiences. It derives from supportive relationships, adaptive capabilities, and positive experiences.” We all can help our students by providing that supportive relationship, by modeling the ability to adapt and giving our students space to learn adaptive skills, and by providing positive experiences for them each and every day on our centers.

I am so proud of the work you have been doing with our Virtual Enrollees and how you continue to keep our centers stay safe. Keep up the good work.

Dr. Wild

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