7th & 8th Grade: Student Leaders
“You are all doing a great job with Fredrick. He is doing 100% better this school year than last year. I do think SwingPals has something to do with that change.” - Jennifer Wright, Freddie’s Mom
Each year, up to 36 students are selected from the 6th grade program to continue with SwingPals in their 7th and 8th grade. During middle school, students attend SwingPals 2 times per week, year-round. SwingPals provides transportation to the golf course / teaching facility, and commits to returning students back to school, or home, if necessary. During the 7th and 8th grade program, students continue to develop the skills learned during 6th grade; Foundation, Focus and Concentration, and Balance. In addition, SwingPals Student Leaders are coached so they may become mentors in school, sharing their new found skills with their peers during the school day.
Mindfulness & Leadership
To address the unique challenges facing our students, SwingPals coaches and volunteers are trained in growth-mindset coaching, which rewards students for hard work. From their very first encounter with our staff, students become aware that safety is our #1 concern because we care about them. An environment of safety is maintained at all times, which reinforces our ICARE message (Integrity, Care/Concern, Appreciation, Respect, and Effort), allowing for greater trust in each other and in our staff. Students enrolled in our year-round program become SwingPals Student Leaders (middle school) and SwingPals Student Ambassadors (high school), thereby promoting positive change throughout the school system and within their community.
We also use HeartMath® tools in classroom instruction and activities to teach our students to focus their minds and achieve emotional balance. The Smart Brain Wise Heart™ program teaches students how to respond positively to stress, and assists students with decision-making and motivation. This program demonstrates how synchronicity of the heart, mind, and body assists learning, goal-setting, and relationship-building skills.
Durham is a very diverse city with a range of nonprofit, education, government, and business organizations working to improve our community. We want our SwingPals Student Leaders to have the opportunity to engage with professionals in these different sectors and learn about the unique parts of our community. SwingPals organizes a few service activities (and transportation!) each school year just for our Student Leaders to gain experience working with a team and contribute to making change.
After graduating from the 8th grade program, new high school students have the opportunity to remain part of the SwingPals program through 12th grade as Student Ambassadors. The components of this program are similar to those of the Student Leaders program, however the focus shifts from them, to preparing them to take their mindfulness skills back to their schools to share with younger peers.