Secondary School FRiENDS – Now in its eighth year at Boca Raton
Community Middle School. Named Friday FRiENDS, the 90-minute after-
school Club fosters social and emotional growth for students to benefit from
and contribute to a safe and nurturing environment. A drama and social
studies ESE teacher was chosen by the certified school guidance counselor
to plan a social arts “class” for disengaged students. This successful pilot
drew 13- 25 students regularly. Word games, snack time, conversation, art
and photography journaling, karaoke, and appearances in a DVD production
have been favored activities.
Community service is now being considered for transitioned students who are
returning on Fridays as “volunteers/interns” to help younger peers with the art
of breaking through the silence of adolescence. Self- evaluations of the
“returnees” indicate considerable social/emotional growth, ability to discuss
mental health and illnesses, the importance of artistic expression, reduced
absenteeism, and ability to form and maintain friendships. This highlights the
need for FRiENDS in high school as an after-school club.
Community FRiENDS - An intergenerational monthly social and emotional group based on forms of expression chosen by attendees. Youth aged 12-18 may attend with peers, family and therapists, where they share in guided
discussions around films, & interactive artistic activities to increase optimism and a sense of belonging. These gatherings encourage empathy and artistic expression which helps decrease feelings of isolation and labeling. Monthly meetings are
planned and led by licensed professionals with experience in expressive arts (public speaking, writing, song, drawing, photography, video scripting). Guitar playing and conversations around Pizza are valued components.
FRiENDS meets monthly at Sugar Sand Park.
FRiENDS - The use of lower case “i” was introduced in the SAMHSA video, entitled FRiENDS.
It is used here to maintain focus on the “I” or “Self” in all FRiENDS activities.
Rita Thrasher, Pres/CEO Boca Raton’s Promise
The Boca Raton Regional Hospital Foundation
The Jacobs Charitable Trust
Palm Beach Photographic Centre, West Palm Beach, FL
The Schmidt Family Foundation