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Discover Your Unique Character Strengths

We know strengths are important for leading successful lives. Strengths and talents can help us grow and thrive when we intentionally use, develop, and cultivate them.

Have you ever thought about what your character strengths are?

 

Scientists began studying the psychology of strengths in earnest decades ago. They started to explore what it looks like when we focus on developing what is right instead of fixing what is wrong. In 2004, leaders in positive psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Peterson developed the VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues (Peterson & Seligman, 2004). Following that, the personal strengths assessment, VIA Survey, was developed, measuring 24 character strengths under 6 Virtues in human beings (Find a copy of VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues here).

 

Character Strengths are defined as the positive parts of your personality that impact how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. You can discover your unique profile of strengths by taking the FREE VIA Survey online. Users need to register and create an account in order to take the survey.

 

According to leading positive psychologists, we each have strengths we are naturally good at. These are called our signature strengths. Find out your unique profile and your TOP 5 signature strengths!

 

When you have your signature strengths (TOP 5) identified, consider these questions to help you reflect on how to develop greater awareness of your strengths:

  • Do they seem to fit you well?
  • Are you surprised by any of them?
  • Read over your list of signature strengths. Think about ways in which you already use them in your life. 
  • Do you underuse any of your strengths?
  • Do you overuse any of your strengths?
  • Brainstorm ways in which you can use them in new ways, and write down a list of specific actions you can take to use your strengths more in healthy and balanced new ways. And then, commit to using your strengths in new ways each day this week. 

 

You can also invite others to take the survey and have some fun activities with them!

  • Families: Invite your family members to take the survey and make a Family Strengths Tree!
  • Friends / Colleagues: Invite your friend to do this survey and have a discussion with them! Share with each other a story about one of your strengths and ask them to guess which strength it is!
  • Romantic Partner: Have you ever had a strength date? Invite your partner to take the survey and have a Strength Date with them! 

 

 

 - 05/25/2020 - Fiona Zheng

Empowering Documentaries for Women

Becoming

 

Based off of her memoir Becoming, we follow Michelle Obama through her book tour as she resonates with young women all over America to tell her story. She not only speaks about herself and her successes but includes hardships she faced, connecting it back to young women in Chicago. Michelle Obama decides to speak to young women in almost every state to see how they view the world and to listen to the hardships they face.

“I crave some longer experiences with young people. Through the community events. The tour could do a great job of giving me a little taste of it.” 

She gives them advice and makes sure that they are not giving up, making sure that they follow their dreams. Following the story of the first woman of color becoming the first lady and having her husband be the first Black president. She speaks about her experiences in the White House and how it has had an affect in her life. Telling stories from her childhood to adulthood and how they made her the woman she is today. Students in colleges asking her questions about being a successful black woman. What it actually means to her to preserve. 

“I have been at, probably, every powerful table there is in the world. I’ve been at G-summits, I’ve been in castles and palaces, in boardrooms and academic universities. And I’m coming down from the mountaintop to tell every young person that is poor and working-class and has been told, regardless of the color of your skin, that you don’t belong, don’t listen to them. They don’t even know how they got into those seats”

Knock Down The House

This movie is a little different because it is not just about one person but four different women from different places across the US trying to speak up. This shows how just to get one seat at the table is extremely hard to do and to see that only one of the four women makes it is very devastating. The four democratic women who run are Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin all back in 2018 who were trying to get a seat in congress. 

“Being a woman of color, our image is really scrutinized. You have to speak like this, you have to dress like this, I decided that ‘Yea, I don’t care.’ Basically, you deal with it. You know, people in my district, this is how we look. I’m going to serve and represent the people of my district.” Cori Bush

The movie does primarily focus on Alexandra Ocasio Cortez because she ends up getting her competitor. But also the true story that the women went through in order to transform Congress. Politics are includedm but it helps to show this side of how and who influences politics. All women make reasonable claims about being a woman trying to have your voice heard in this day and age. Overall, it is very uplifting to see AOC Bronx born to succeed and represent minorities in congress. Ask and propose the things that are important to the working class. 

“For one of us to make it through, 100 of us have to try.” AOC

I believe that overall these two movies are by far some of the most empowering movies that actually help you see the bigger picture. These movies tell you a story of different women and different upbringings, but at the end of the day they still end up succeeding. Both AOC and Michelle Obama have made just a big difference in people's lives. Their stories are one of a kind but still stories that us minorities can find hope and motivation. Motivation to stand out and continue proving people wrong. Being the person to speak up for when something is wrong, not being afraid to give up when it gets hard. These documentaries are very helpful to young women as well to be able to see the harsh truth of the world and to learn from it. To show women that even if you fall, get back up and try again.

 - 05/20/2020 - Yaritza Montiel

Combatting Hunger with Hope

Grocery Home Deliveries to Mott Haven Families

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Over the last eight weeks, Areté has re-established online programming, enrolling 300 students at the Lab School in a variety of weekly learning activities. We have also provided resources for direct services to Lab School families to acquire groceries, hotspots, and other critical services and supplies. Working with the Lab School staff, we keep track daily of students in terms of COVID-19 sickness (self and household members), hunger, and family member loss.

We have also seen a desperate need emerge: hunger.

How can our students learn if they are hungry?

How do we connect our students and families to immediate resources they need to bring meals and groceries into their homes during this COVID-19 pandemic?

Areté has responded by starting a Family Help Hotline and Grocery Delivery initiatives for the families we serve in Mott Haven.

We are working every day to garner foundation, private donor, and government funding to expand these efforts. Recently the Tracy Family Foundation funded our volunteer grocery delivery team by awarding Areté $7,500 to purchase groceries for our families recently losing a loved one to COVID and/or suffering from acute food shortages. Private donors have also been filling in the financial gaps needed to continue the initiative beyond the first delivery to 20 families.

Areté and Lab School staff have been volunteering every Saturday afternoon to meet at Fine Fare, load our cars with boxes of groceries, and then deliver directly to the apartment buildings of our families most in need.

We need more help.

Please consider sharing news our hunger relief efforts with friends, families, and foundation who would be interested in supporting our students and families during this critical time.

We have traditionally served the Mott Haven neighborhood of the South Bronx, home to the poorest congressional district in the nation. We partner with the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology to serve 700 students and their families; those services have been dramatically curtailed due to COVID-19, due to a suspension of all on-site youth and family programming. By virtue of zip code, our Mott Haven families will be hit harder by COVID-19 than most due to decades of historical and structural inequities that erect barriers to accessing healthcare, employment, and educational opportunities. The Bronx has the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities as a share of its population of any borough.

You can learn more about our COVID-19 responses to support students and families in Mott Haven by watching a video about our recent efforts in March and April.

 - 05/12/2020 - sbsd@areteeducation.org

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