A Labor of Love!

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

What made you want to be a teacher? In the course of my work, I’ve met educators and parents who knew from the time they were elementary school students themselves that they were destined to teach.

Janet Bauer, Program Manager, I’m A Great Child Worldwide℠

Janet Bauer, shown in my blog pic here, believes that her involvement in education is a mission that began when she was very young, though she didn’t recognize it at the time. Janet wants to help children around the world know how great they are. That’s why she founded a non-profit program, I’m A Great Child Worldwide℠, that empowers children by enhancing their natural strengths, self-esteem, confidence, resilience and speaking skills.

Janet knows from personal experience that children learn what they live.  She’s proof positive that when a child’s life is empty of security, love and nurturing, as Janet’s was when she was at home and in school, that child will struggle to blossom into the beautiful flower they can become.

Janet grew up as an only child in New Jersey, near New York City (US), with an alcoholic father and a verbally abusive mother. School was no haven either. Janet remembers her teachers as yelling and uncaring.  Feeling unloved, Janet would often cry and then become the target of bullies. The seed of I’m A Great Child Worldwide℠ was planted, but it would be years before Janet would even realize what she was meant to do with her life. You can read more about her  journey online in Janet’s comprehensive website: www.greatchildworldwide.org

As you’ll see when you visit, the website quotes the world-famous Italian master, Michelangelo, with these words: “I saw an angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Janet and the teachers she has helped to train have enabled children that live in areas touched by poverty – including in the US, South Africa, Botswana and Kenya – to “free” themselves with new confidence and self-esteem derived from participation in her program.

Like Janet, you may work with children that face the challenges of poverty.  Information and resources you find as you discover Janet’s program may assist you in helping them.

When you learn more about Janet’s background, I think you’ll understand why it’s no wonder that she relates to children living in slums and very poor villages. They inspire her. I’m A Great Child Worldwide℠ empowers children that face what Janet calls, “environment-triggered trauma” – poverty, crime, drug abuse, physical and emotional abuse.

Her programs meet children where they are and enable them to overcome shyness and low self-esteem, anger and other challenges. Children who have been in the program often change their lives on their own initiative. Her workshops,

Janet Bauer leading a workshop in Africa

like the one shown in my blog pic here, accomplish these goals in three key steps:

  • Encourage adults to recognize the unique and positive qualities in each child they teach.
  • Model how adults can find and create opportunities to point out each child’s specialness.
  • Help children see themselves in positive ways, paving the way for them to achieve goals, including success in school.

Success in school – there’s a clear Attentionology connection!  The premise of Janet’s program is that when children come to school with enough appreciation for who they are, they feel empowered, and can  focus on learning with confidence in their own capabilities.

Does her program work? Read what three Kenyan children wrote about their participation in What’s Great About You, a program that is part of Janet’s nonprofit (Children are asked to write stories about their experience with the program at the conclusion of a series of weekly classes created by their school.)…

… An 8-year old child wrote, “I used to feel bad, cry, angry and be violent.  I was also a coward.  I joined the program because my friend who was in it changed his bad behavior to good.  I have learned to concentrate in class and be a good student.”

… A 10-year old child wrote, “I used to get angry, beat other children and I was shy. I used to rely on others’ assignments in class. I copied. I joined the program because I saw a change in behavior in my friends. This program has helped me concentrate in class. I listen to my teachers. I am no longer shy. It has helped me become a good boy and I am very happy today.”

… An 11-year old child wrote, “I did not know how to read and write. I used to skip school and if I went I could escape because nothing seemed interesting.  When I joined the program, it gave me all the reasons to stay in school. I can now read and write. I feel happy now. This program has helped me to become a leader. I am a school prefect.”

Janet was recognized as a hero in a Kenyan publication, Parents Magazine, in August, 2009.  She and her program were also featured that year in the Daily News, Kenya’s national newspaper.  Any opportunity to spread the core message of I’m A Great Child Worldwide℠ is cause for celebration. As with any charitable effort (and none hold onto someone’s heart more than Janet’s program holds onto hers), publicity helps link people with fundraising efforts that support the program.

Janet is quick to show appreciation to donors.  As recently as July of this year she sent electronic thank-you notes from kids, on behalf of more than 300 kids in seven schools in a remote African Village the program had helped. The note from one child read in part, “I learned that I am strong and persevering.”

Those words could be from Janet’s personal notes, as well.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in instructional settings!  Talk with you next Monday – Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers. 

Look for Mid-Week Magic on Wednesday,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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