From Our Founder: We’ve Got to Keep Moving

To my Move This World Friends, Family and Partners:

Move This World Founder and CEO Sara Potler LaHayne sitting at her desk with her daughters

Sara and the girls are looking ahead to big things in 2022

I’ve never been more relieved and ready for the end of a year and the promise of a new beginning. There’s a lot to be grateful for and proud of amidst the loss and challenges of last year, especially the many opportunities to learn and grow. Partner schools across the country inspired us with innovative approaches to prioritizing mental health. Whether building online community mental health hubs, implementing district-wide wellness days, or empowering all adults to prioritize Move This World for their own mental health, the emphasis on mental and emotional wellbeing is encouraging for our future and what we can reimagine in education.

Elementary school students in class participating in Move This World experiences

Students at Rolling Hills Engineering Academy in Lancaster, TX start their day with Move This World

While we have a lot to be proud of, this past year was a hard one. We ended 2021 with three medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, declaring a national state of emergency in children’s mental health. Roughly 1 in every 500 children have lost at least one parent to the coronavirus. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth ages 10-24. Personally, my family and I experienced grief and loss at a level we’ve never known before. And like all working parents, my husband and I were constrained by especially limited schooling, childcare, and time.

These challenges haven’t gone away, and we bring them into 2022 along with the uncertainty that has become uncomfortably familiar: What’s next? Where do we go from here?

Navigating uncertainty– sitting in the unknown, managing the uncomfortable, identifying and expressing our feelings, cultivating empathy for others’ experiences, perspectives and backgrounds, developing relationships, setting goals, working with others to meet them– these are the social emotional skills that allow us to learn, to work, to teach, and to live. They are the skills that make us the resilient, connected communities that have moved through and survived the last two years, and they are the skills we’ll continue to lean on and cultivate throughout 2022.

Students in class participating in Move This World experiences

6th-graders from Distinctive Schools in Chicago loosen up with a Move This World video experience

If there’s ever been a moment to emphasize the relevance and urgency of social emotional skills, it’s today. To create healthy environments for us to learn, whether remote, in-person, hybrid, in a pandemic world or beyond, we all have to feel like we belong. This is especially true for kids– we must build healthy relationships with them, and social emotional skills help develop that sense of community and belonging for us all.

So how did we at Team Move This World make that happen in 2021, despite it being a year that we’re so thrilled is over?

  • Doubled our social emotional wellness content library, producing more videos than ever before

Move This World production team gathered for a group photo on the video set after finishing 2022 video production

So proud of this team for writing, producing, and editing so many great new SEL experiences for the 2021-2022 school year!

And since 2022 can only go up from here, get excited about–

  • More student voice throughout MTW content, especially at the middle and high school levels. You’ll see more student submissions, and a Student Ambassador group shaping the development of new content to reflect students’ experiences, ideas, challenges, and perspectives on the world around them.

  • Expanded asynchronous flexibility with more content on-demand

  • Normalized social emotional wellness practices and conversations- in our schools, our homes, and our workplaces

  • Further differentiated content for our earliest learners

  • Purposeful practice of social emotional and leadership skills

We can’t predict what 2022 will look like, and after the last two years, nothing is off the table. But one thing that we know with certainty is that we will work diligently alongside millions of students, educators and families to champion the skills needed for us all to cope, to learn, to care for ourselves and one another, and to ultimately thrive despite whatever is thrown our way.

Together we can Move This World,

Move This World founder and CEO Sara Potler LaHayne's signature

The LaHayne family posing for a photo and smiling on the beach   The LaHayne family posing for a photo and smiling on a hike in the mountains

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