Michael Fauteux, Co-Founder
Why did you create this innovation?
All humans crave connection. We want to feel like we belong, like we are seen and valued for who we are. Connection and wellbeing are particular challenges for young people, exacerbated by the pandemic. We created GiveThx as a student-centered, strengths-based, safe way to nurture connection and mental health for students of all identities, essential conditions for personal and academic growth.
How does your innovation work in practice?
Students use GiveThx to share digital notes of appreciation with peers, reflect on feedback, and identify strengths. Teachers facilitate activities to develop positive, healthy behaviors and relationships. Students see all of their Thx notes in one place sorted by reason and discover previously invisible patterns about how their actions impact others.
Developed for and by students in low-income, high-trauma communities, GiveThx is grounded in safety, equity, and inclusion and consists of three components:
1. A multi-year, student-centered curriculum that builds skills and reinforces positive behaviors to improve mental health, connection, and academics
2. An engaging and accessible digital platform that leverages gratitude and technology to create a safe and positive classroom culture.
3. A set of educator trainings that empower teachers and nurture their own social-emotional skills.
A 2020 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology attests to the impact of the program.
How has it been spreading?
GiveThx supported the wellbeing of over 20,000 students around the world in the last two years, primarily spreading by word of mouth. A 2020 research study (https://bit.ly/RSCHFull) found that GiveThx improved student mental health and life and friendship satisfaction while decreasing anxiety, negativity, depression, and stress. GiveThx was one of eight social-emotional learning companies accepted in the 2020 AT&T Aspire Accelerator and one of ten members of the 2019 New Schools Venture Fund Expanded Definition of Student Success cohort.
Our goals for the next 2-3 years included supporting over 200,000 students as we scale our program and extending our work to parents. Student caregivers are crucial partners in child SEL who will strengthen our impact by being directly included.
If I want to try it, what should I do?
Anyone interested in GiveThx should explore our open resources (https://bit.ly/GTDist) to begin benefiting right away and better understand the program. Those wishing to bring GiveThx to their learning community should ensure school leadership is open to the program and its approach and reach out to GiveThx here to get started (https://givethx.org/contact-us.html).
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