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Social, Emotional Learning at Club

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is an important aspect of human growth and development, as it emphasizes the necessity for meaningful reflection, healthy coping skills, and healthy relationships throughout ones’ life course. Social Emotional Learning- as an intentional practice-not only enriches the individual who engages in it, but it provides the foundation for a safe and inclusive community for all.

At BGCCI, we believe Social Emotional Learning is so critical in today’s social climate because it encompasses Trauma-Informed Care and Equity; two essential concepts that highlight the importance of being able to tell the stories of our lives and how our stories fit within a broader social context. When working with Boys & Girls Club youth, the goal is to make these concepts more practical and relatable to their own lives; walking alongside them while they discover tools for Social & Emotional growth and increase social connectedness amongst one another.

On a typical day, SEL Coordinator, Jess*, will facilitate two large groups that focus on social-emotional skills like empathy, social connection, emotion identification, and emotional regulation. These sessions are tailored to meet the unique needs of our youth in developmentally sensitive ways. Each session includes a community builder, practice of a grounding technique, and an interactive lesson on Social-Emotional growth & well-being.

In addition to large groups, Jess also offers individual, one-on-one sessions to support youth through life’s challenges. These counseling services are open to all Club members K-12 and are offered on a first come, first-serve basis. It is important for youth to have a balanced, neutral ear to help them process the events occurring in their lives; research shows that resilience is strongly shaped by the level of social support youth receive at the time of their personal traumas or adversities (Iowa ACEs 360, 2020).

At Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Iowa, our goal is to partner with families, Club sites, and schools to ensure a holistic approach towards emotional health in the youth we serve.

*Jess Brown, Social, Emotional Learning Coordinator at BGCCI, received her BA in Social Work & Sociology from Loras College in 2019 and Master's in Social Work from the University of Iowa in 2021. She obtained her License to practice Social Work at the Master's level shortly thereafter. In addition, she is certified in Therapeutic Aggression Control Techniques & Crisis Prevention Intervention.

For questions about Social, Emotional Learning, contact Jess at


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