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Adopt-A-Kid
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Adopt-A-Kid

Principle: to notice; to cause one to feel important; to instill a sense of
Worth, value and/or belonging.

Goal: to “pull” a person IN, rather than to “push” a person toward an
outcome.

Practice: Each adult volunteering to participate selects a [one] student s/he wishes to work with for the next 21 school days. Try to select a student that is not totally frustrating you (at least on your first time through this activity), but rather, one who you feel drawn to for some reason. Only one student per adult. No more than two adults on any one student, though one-to-one is recommended.

  • Create a “calendar” of the next 21 days from the start and physically cross off each day you do this. It is far too easy to miss a day amidst busy, hectic schedules. If you miss even ONE, you must start counting to 21 all over again!
  • Once your student is selected, you simply WALK PAST him/her each day, delivering your comment. “PAST” means you do not walk up to him/her and stop. You keep moving, so as to not raise suspicion that you're directly engaging them deliberately or with any agenda. This is a casual pass-by.
  • You must seek the student out in a neutral place, to deliver the comment. It cannot be in class, when you have him/her for something. In class, you're SUPPOSED to talk to him/her, they're your student! It must be in the hall, at lunch, coming to/from school, study hall, etc…a time when you don't have to, by role… speak to them.
  • Comments must be neutral. NO PRAISE. NO COMPLIMENTS. They'll know you're up to something! Comments like, “Jeremy, I saw you walking, did you miss the bus this AM?” or “Maria, Did I see you at Wal-Mart yesterday late afternoon?” Whether or not the comment is accurate or far-fetched, it is taking time to notice them, through a comment directed at them, that is the psychological foundation of this encounter. This is why one must not contaminate it with value laden or emotional comments. “New hat, Chet?” is plenty. Just take notice.
  • Be sure to keep an eye out for the first time this student approaches you. You will not notice, unless you're vigilant. S/he will simply walk by you and initiate a comment-or come up to you at some point and talk about something other than a school assignment.
  • It may help to check in with each other once each week…just to reinforce the ritual. Also, plan to gather for a short while on day #21 and share your experience with this. As you decide to “go another round, “ you may alter some of your strategies in accomplishing the activity… or share comments you've made, to make that part a little easier [similarly, you could brainstorm ahead a list of potential comments to any/all to consider].

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