INSIDE OUR SCHOOLS
Growing up is tough, but doing so in the age of COVID-19 is even tougher.
By Garrett Rowlan
To confront the anomie that young people might experience, ArtCenter student’s have designed a new, free, mobile-friendly website. Called Me & My Emotions, it provides a critical pathway for young people, 13 on up, to build resilience on their own. The website debuted in October 15, 2021.
The website is the result of a fusion between ArtCenter College of Design’s social innovation program, Designmatters, partnered with the Dibble Institute, a nonprofit publisher of curriculum that helps young people build healthy emotional connections. In recognition of Designmatters’ leadership, Art Center was the first design school to receive Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status at the United Nations.
Dibble Institue’s Mind Matters curriculum invites participants – many who might be facing challenges in school, life and relationships, to learn skills and strategies to take charge of their emotions and improve their states of mind. The Mind Matters curriculum includes teaching teens techniques for mental wellbeing including: self-soothing, observing self, developing supportive relationships, self-care, intentionality and having compassion for the “hijacked” brain.
The need is critical. According to the CDC, 86% of teens experience social isolation, and similar numbers are reported around issues such as accountability, motivation, and the lack of an interactive environment.
Judy Toretti, ArtCenter assistant professor who taught the Designmatters class, said:
The pandemic really pushed forward the importance of mental wellbeing and how it cannot be swept under the rug. It became essential to be resilient.
Founded in 2001, Designmatters is a groundbreaking, college-wide program that serves all academic disciplines at ArtCenter College of Design. The department sets a global standard for art and design education in social innovation. Its advances art and design as a force for innovation and social change through research, advocacy and action. Designmatters collaborates with nonprofit organizations, industry, and national and international development agencies on immersive, outcome-oriented research and projects.
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