In a world facing more shootings, suicides, substance abuse, and sexual violence than ever before, there is more that we can do as educators, as parents, and as adults committed to leaving this world better than we found it. Research shows that just one trusted adult can have a profound effect on a child’s life, influencing that young person toward positive growth, greater engagement in school and community activities, better overall health, and prevention of risky and threatening behaviors. From educators to piano teachers, camp counselors to aunts and uncles, and athletic coaches to babysitters, every adult who encounters a young person holds the privilege of shaping that child’s life—and also the significant responsibility. With news headlines dominated by stories of abuse in schools, camps, and churches, those of us who guide or mentor adolescents must understand how to build trust with young people while simultaneously establishing boundaries that keep the relationship healthy.
Brooklyn Raney is an experienced teacher, coach, and administrator who has spent the last decade working in independent schools. She is the founder and director of the Girls’ Leadership Camp, a group that hosts a one-week summer camp for middle school girls, as well as one-day boosts and leadership conferences. She is also a co-founder of Generation Change, a nonprofit that seeks to embolden youth to be empathic and compassionate change makers through cross-generational mentorship. Brooklyn is a workshop facilitator, speaker, and consultant for schools, camps, and other youth-serving organizations nationally and internationally. You can find out more about her and her programs at www.onetrustedadult.com
Elizabeth Cronin, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher with offices in Brookline and Norwood, MA. You can follow her on Instagram or visit her website.
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