Risk and Prevention

Program Info - Program Information

Correlations with The Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets
 
I. Background
 
The 40 Developmental Assets are key factors which research shows nurture competent, caring and responsible behavior in the lives of children or adolescents. A definitive study of almost 100,000 6th-12th grade public school students in 213 cities during the 1996-97 school year indicated that the more of these Assets there are in a young person’s life, the more likely he or she was to succeed in school, help others, value diversity, maintain good health, exhibit leadership, resist danger, delay gratification and overcome adversity.
 
 
 
The 40 Developmental Assets are widely used by schools, school districts and communities nationwide as guides for creating comprehensive programs to support the healthy development of youth, and to diminish or prevent negative behaviors, such as violence, substance abuse and teen pregnancy.
 
 
 
The 40 Developmental Assets were developed by the Search Institute, an independent, nonprofit, nonsectarian organization whose mission is to advance the well-being of adolescents and children by generating knowledge and promoting its application. The Institute conducts research and evaluation, develops publications and practical tools, and provides training and technical assistance. Their address is 700 South Third Street Minneapolis MN 55415. Telephone: 800 888-7828. Website at www.search-institute.org
 
 
 
The Giraffe Heroes Program is a national K-12 service-learning and character development program, created by the nonprofit Giraffe Project, based in Langley WA. The Program comes in editions for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12. The first three editions come as one-per-classroom Teachers’ Guides. The 10-12 edition consists of a Resource Guide for the facilitator plus individual copies of a book for students titled It’s Up to Us. The Giraffe Project’s Website is at <www.giraffe.org>.
 
 
 
As described in the correlations below, The Giraffe Heroes Program is a very important means of building 21 of the 40 Developmental Assets; it has some impact in building 10 other Assets; and it is not an important factor in building the remaining 9 Assets.
 
 
 
II. Legend
 
V = the Giraffe Heroes Program is a very important means of building this Asset.
 
S = the Program has some impact in building this Asset.
N = the Program is not an important factor in building this Asset.
 
The notations K-2, 3-5, 6-9 and 10-12 refer to the corresponding grade-level edition of the Giraffe Heroes Program. “S” means “Stage” in the K-2 edition and “Section” in the 3-5 and 6-9 editions. “L” means “Lesson,” “Ch.” means “Chapter,” and “N” means “Neckbone”—a name used in place of “Chapter” in the final section of the K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 editions.
 
 
 
III. The 40 Developmental Assets
A. Support
1. Family support. Family life provides high level of love and support. (N)
2. Positive family communication. Parents and child communicate positively; child is willing to seek parents’ advice and counsel. (S)
3. Other adult relationships. Child receives support from three or more non-parent adults. (V)
4. Caring neighborhood. Child experiences caring neighbors. (N)
5. Caring school climate. School provides a caring, encouraging environment. (V)
6. Parent involvement in schooling. Parents are actively involved in helping child succeed in school. (S)
B. Empowerment
7. Community values youth. Child perceives that community adults value youth. (V)
8. Youth given useful roles. Youth are given useful roles in community life. (V)
9. Community service. Child gives one hour or more per week to serving in his/her community. (V)
10. Safety. Child feels safe in home, school and neighborhood. (N)
C. Boundaries and Expectations
11. Family boundaries. Family has clear rules and consequences; and monitors whereabouts. (N)
12. School boundaries. School provides clear rules and consequences. (N)
13. Neighborhood boundaries. Neighbors would report undesirable behavior to family. (N)
14. Adult role models. Parent(s) and other adults model prosocial behavior. (V)
15. Positive peer influence. Child’s best friends model responsible behavior. (S)
16. High expectations. Both parents and teachers press child to achieve. (S)
D. Time
17. Creative activities. Involved three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theatre or other arts. (S)
18. Youth programs. Involved three hours or more per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in community organizations. (V)
19. Religious community. Involved one or more hours per week. (N)
20. Time at home. Out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week. (N)
E. Educational Commitment
21. Achievement motivation. Child is motivated to do well in school. (V)
22. School performance. Child has B average or better. (S)
23. Homework. Child reports one or more hours of homework per day. (N)
24. Bonding to school. Child cares about his/her school. (S)
25. Reading for pleasure. Child reads for pleasure three or more hours per week. (S)
F. Values
26. Caring. Child places high value on helping other people. (V)
27. Equality and social justice. Child places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty. (V)
28. Integrity. Child acts on convictions, stands up for his/her beliefs. (V)
29. Honesty. Child “tells the truth even when it is not easy.” (S)
30. Responsibility. Child accepts and takes personal responsibility. (V)
31. Restraint. Child believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs. (V)
G. Social Competencies
32. Planning and decision-making. Child has skill to plan ahead and make choices. (V)
33. Interpersonal competence. Child has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills. (V)
34. Cultural competence. Child has knowledge of and comfort with people of different racial backgrounds. (S)
35. Resistance skills. Child can resist negative peer pressure. (V)
36. Peaceful conflict resolution. Child seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently. (V)
H. Positive Identity
37. Personal control. Child feels she/he has control over “things that happen to me.” (V)
38. Self-esteem. Child reports high self-esteem. (V)
39. Sense of purpose. Child reports “my life has a purpose.” (V)
40. Positive view of personal future. Child is optimistic about his/her personal future. (V)
 
 
 
IV. The Correlations
 
A. Support
1. Family support. Family life provides high level of love and support. (N)
 
2. Positive family communication. Parents and child communicate positively; child is willing to seek parents’ advice and counsel. (S)
The Giraffe Heroes Program provides opportunities for parents to work with their children on Program activities:
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (Intro) and 10-12 (Resource Guide)—Letter to Parents/Guardians introduces the Giraffe Heroes Program.
3-5 and 6-9 (Intro)—Giraffes at Home invites parents and caregivers to join in with their children on specific activities in the Program, and coaches them how best to do that.
K2 and 3-5 (S1)—parents and caregivers can read/help children read stories of “Giraffes”—heroes honored by the Giraffe Project for sticking their necks out for the common good.
All editions—parents and caregivers can discuss the stories of Giraffes with students, and the values implicit in them.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S2)— parents and caregivers can help students find Giraffes in the community.
All editions—parents and caregivers can help students with their service project, and celebrate with them when it is done.
 
3. Other adult relationships. Child receives support from three or more non-parent adults. (V)
The Giraffe Heroes Program provides many opportunities for non-parent adults to help facilitate the Program, including members of local service clubs:
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (Intro)—How to Involve Community Volunteers in the Program provides suggestions and guidance.
10-12 (Resource Guide)—Using the Giraffe Heroes Program to Build School/Community Partnerships helps bring the community into the school.
K2 and 3-5 (S1)—community members can read/help children read stories of heroes who have stuck their necks out for others.
All editions (entire course)—community members can discuss the stories of Giraffes with students, and the values implicit in them. They can talk with students about what service and citizenship mean in their own lives.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S2)—students look for heroes in the community and when they find them, bring them to class.
All editions—students can recruit community members to consult with them on their service project and to help them carry it out. Professionals in the community can help students with special aspects of a service project, such as fundraising and dealing with media.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N7)—students invite community members to a celebration of the conclusion of their service project.
 
4. Caring neighborhood. Child experiences caring neighbors. (N)
 
 
 
5. Caring school climate. School provides a caring, encouraging environment. (V)
 
Caring is a core value of the Giraffe Heroes Program. Throughout the Program, students form caring attachments to adults, to each other, and to the community as a whole. The effect of all this can permeate the school, with the example of students in the Program affecting the behavior of staff and other students.
 
 
 
Students learn to work as a team, listening to each other, learning together, and caring for and encouraging each other in a joint effort:
3-5 and 6-9 (S1 and S2)—students work together to identify Giraffes and Giraffe qualities, and to develop a joint definition of a “hero.”
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S2)—students look for models of caring in their school, and when they find them, invite them to class. The effect is to promulgate caring as a school ideal.
3-5 and 6-9 (S3N6)—students create a Giraffe Club.
10-12—Chapter 4 deals with active compassion and Chapter 9 offers guidance on resolving conflicts and finding common ground.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3) and 10-12 (entire book)—students decide amongst themselves what issue in their community they want to work on. They then put their caring into action by carrying out a service project that helps meet that concern. In doing so, they make decisions together, deal with obstacles and risks together and celebrate together when they are done.
 
6. Parent involvement in schooling. Parents are actively involved in helping child succeed in school. (S)
The correlation to Asset #2 notes the opportunities in the Giraffe Heroes Program for parents and children to work together. These opportunities include helping children succeed in those parts of the Program tied to language arts, social studies, civics, life skills, visual arts and other parts of the standard curriculum. (The Program is linked to academic objectives using the McRel Standards Database, a coherent compendium of educational standards for primary, intermediate, middle and high school grades, based on work sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.)
 
Helping their children succeed with their service project—a key part of the Program—provides excellent opportunities for parental support in the following areas:
 
K-2, 3-5, and 6-9 (S3) and 10-12 (entire book)— In the course of implementing their project, students practice writing, doing research, reading, communicating through the visual arts, listening and speaking in public. They engage in brainstorming, thinking critically and making decisions, taking responsibility, and setting and managing goals. They make and carry out plans, assess risks, solve problems, persist, work with others and resolve conflicts. They learn the importance of public participation, and of honoring diverse views. Older students develop leadership skills, learn to work with media, and study and sometimes even practice the formation of public policy.
 
 
 
 
B. Empowerment
 
7. Community values youth. Child perceives that community adults value youth. (V)
All editions—the Giraffe Heroes Program brings youth into the community in ways that help adults value youth and deepen their respect for what young people can do:
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S2)—students look for heroes in the community and when they find them, bring them to class.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N1) and 10-12 (Ch. 6)—through visits, research, brainstorming and discussion, students carefully evaluate needs and resources in their communities. When they pick a service project to work on, their choice reflects considerable thought and the conviction that what they are about to do meets genuine needs in the community.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N6) and 10-12 (Ch. 6)as part of their service project, students work with community members—gathering suggestions and additional resources. In the process of completing their project, students become stakeholders in the community; they learn to care about what happens there. They gain pride in where they live—a pride that can rub off on teachers, parents and anyone else exposed to the Program.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N7)—students think of additional projects they can do, this time with their families, friends, neighbors, youth clubs, etc.
10-12 (Resource Guide)—Using the Giraffe Heroes Program to Build School/Community Partnerships offers helpful suggestions for this grade level.
 
As part of their service project, students tell the community what they are doing, building good “PR” for youth:
 
3-5 and 6-9 (Intro)—Giraffing the Media guides students in writing press releases and making public presentations to inform the community about their service project.
 
10-12—Chapter 8 offers more detailed advice to older students for creating a comprehensive media strategy to present their cause and their project.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N7)—students invite community members to a celebration of the conclusion of their service project. The adults see in detail the good things the students have accomplished, and it adds to their positive perception of the students and of their school.
 
8. Youth given useful roles. Youth are given useful roles in community life. (V)
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S2)—students look for heroes in their community. When they find them, they bring them to class and honor them as models for others to follow.
All editions—the Giraffe Heroes Program focuses on the impact individuals and groups can have on communities and beyond. It shows students how to have that impact by choosing and carrying out a service project that meets real needs they care about. See the correlation to Asset #9.
 
9. Community service. Child gives one hour or more per week to serving in his/her community. (V)
A core part of the Giraffe Heroes Program at all grade levels is involving students in choosing and carrying out a service project that meets real needs they care about, and that requires a significant commitment of thought, time, and energy:
K-2 (S3N2-5); 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N3-5)) and 10-12 (Ch. 6)—through visits, research, brainstorming and discussion, students carefully assess needs in their communities. They discuss and decide what they care enough about to serve as the basis for a class service project, then they design and carry out a specific service project that helps meet that concern. By the time they’ve picked a project, their choices reflect considerable thought and the conviction that what they are about to do meets genuine needs in the community, and has significant consequences for themselves and for the people they will be working with.
 
The Giraffe Heroes Program initiate students into the company of courageous, caring, responsible human beings. Students understand that what they’ve learned is not a one-shot deal:
 
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N7)—students think of additional projects they can do, this time with their families, friends, neighbors, youth clubs, etc.
 
10-12—Chapter 12, “Where Do You Go from Here?” promotes service as a lifelong pursuit, as does a section in the 10-12 Resource Guide called The Giraffe Heroes Program and Active Citizenship.
 
10. Safety. Child feels safe in home, school and neighborhood. (N)
 
 
 
 
 
C. Boundaries and Expectations
11. Family boundaries. Family has clear rules and consequences; and monitors whereabouts. (N)
 
12. School boundaries. School provides clear rules and consequences. (N)
 
13. Neighborhood boundaries. Neighbors would report undesirable behavior to family. (N)
 
14. Adult role models. Parent(s) and other adults model prosocial behavior. (V)
All editions of the Program include many stories of “Giraffes” honored by the Giraffe Project for sticking their necks out for the common good. Giraffes are ideal models of prosocial behavior—people of all colors, ages and ethnic backgrounds, tackling many different public challenges, from inner-city poverty to environmental pollution. In addition to the Giraffe stories in each edition of the Program, there are over 800 more stories in the Project’s storybank, many accessible on the Giraffe Project’s website at <www.giraffe.org>.
 
In the editions for K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S2), students look for heroes in the community. When they find them, they bring them to class and honor them as models for others to follow.
 
 
 
As noted in the correlation to Asset #3 above, The Giraffe Heroes Program provides many opportunities for non-parent adults to help facilitate the Program, including members of local service clubs. A formal evaluation of the Program in six Seattle schools in 1997, done for the Kellogg Foundation, clearly showed that these community facilitators became important positive role models for the students.
 
 
 
15. Positive peer influence. Child’s best friends model responsible behavior. (S)
 
The Giraffe Heroes Program is a co-learning experience. Students learn to work as a team—discovering heroes, talking about heroic values, finding heroes in their communities, then becoming heroic themselves by designing and carrying out a service project together. Bonds can and do form in the process of sharing these challenges. Students learn from each other. And the positive example of one or several students in taking on some difficult or scary aspect of their service project often can bring the rest of the class on board.
 
 
 
16. High expectations. Both parents and teachers press child to achieve. (S)
 
All editions—parents and teachers are invited to share the high expectations the Giraffe Heroes Program sets for itself:
 
1. in Life Skills—students gain insights, confidence and skills for leading meaningful and productive lives.
2. in Academic Learning—students gain motivation for learning, and they learn and practice skills in language arts, social studies, civics, visual arts, health, and behavioral studies. Depending on the nature of the service project undertaken, other academic goals met can include those for mathematics, science and technology.
3. in Citizenship—students absorb values of courageous compassion and active citizenship.
4. in Prevention—students gain the self-confidence to make sound decisions about their lives—by hearing stories of role models, by discussing and reflecting on positive qualities of character, and by succeeding in challenging service activities that they can see make a difference.
5. in Community-building—by going into their communities to evaluate local needs and to design and implement service projects that help meet them, students become stakeholders in the community; they learn to care about what happens there. They gain pride in where they live—a pride that can rub off on teachers, parents and anyone else exposed to the program. Adults who see kids working in the community this way gain a deeper respect for what young people can do.
 
These expectations are discussed in introductory sections in the editions for grade levels K-2, 3-5 and 6-9; in addition, each lesson in each section begins with a one-sentence statement of “Objectives” and includes a list of skills to be learned and practiced in that lesson. In the 10-12 edition, expectations and desired outcomes are discussed in a Resource Guide.
 
 
 
While both parents and teachers are expected to support students in attaining these objectives, the Giraffe Heroes Program works best when students’ motivation for achievement is intrinsic and not just a result of others pressing them to succeed. The Program helps students take moral values to heart, and to absorb them as a permanent way of thinking, feeling and acting in any and all situations. It achieves that goal by fully engaging students in their own character development. For example, it gives them responsibility for choosing and carrying out a service project that meets concerns that they have. The service project itself is not the main objective. The deep and lasting goal is to build students’ confidence and capacity for making ethical, self-directed choices that change their world for the better.
 
 
 
Intrinsic motivation for high achievement in the Program extends to academic learning. See the correlation to Asset # 21. Students who have a low interest in academics or actively resist learning can suddenly click into lively pursuit of core skills when they experience applying academics in a context that’s important to them—part of a service project that they have designed.
 
 
D. Time
 
17. Creative activities. Involved three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theatre or other arts. (S)
In the Giraffe Heroes Program, students apply principles, techniques, and processes related to the visual and performing arts:
K-2 (S1L1 and onward)—making a scrapbook; (S2L1)—multimedia ideas include songs, poems, skits, prop-making and artwork.
3-5 (S1L2)—painting T shirts; (S1)—multimedia ideas; (S2) creating a Giraffe Hall of Fame.
6-9 (S1L3,4)—collages and posters; (S2L1)—making trading cards; (S2)— multimedia projects and additional art activities; (S3)—making a project scrapbook.
10-12 (Ch. 2 and 3)—creating posters; (Ch. 8)— using a variety of visual and graphic arts to create posters, flyers, brochures and websites.
 
18. Youth programs. Involved three hours or more per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in community organizations. (V)
As part of the Program, students create their own organization as the means for deciding what they care about, then choosing and carrying out a service project that helps meet that concern:
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3) and 10-12 (entire book)—in the process of choosing and implementing a service project, students learn to work together as a team in which, appropriate to their grade level, they learn and practice ways of group functioning, including discussion and debate, voting, creating and carrying out a joint plan, resolving conflicts and dealing with obstacles and risks. Their commitment of time and energy to completing their project is significant.
 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N7)—students can end their first service project by creating a Giraffe Club as an ongoing base for choosing and carrying out additional projects.
Throughout, activities in the Program promote teamwork and bonding. See the correlation to Asset #15.
 
As part of their service project, students may choose to work with existing community organizations.
 
 
 
3-5 and 6-9How Youth Clubs and Similar Organizations Can use the Giraffe Heroes Program describes how the entire Program can be run under the auspices of an existing community organization.
 
 
 
19. Religious community. Involved one or more hours per week. (N)
 
 
 
20. Time at home. Out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week. (N)
 
 
E. Educational Commitment
 
21. Achievement motivation. Child is motivated to do well in school. (V)
The Program develops students’ intrinsic motivation by giving them responsibility for choosing and carrying out a challenging service project that meets concerns that they have identified. The project itself is not the main objective here. The deep and lasting goal is to build students’ confidence and capacity for making self-directed choices.
 
Users of the Program report that students can become so intent on achieving the real-world results of their service project that even those with a long record of academic failure find themselves suddenly clicking into lively pursuit of core skills when they experience applying academics in a context that’s important to them.
 
 
 
In language arts, for example, the Program’s exciting content raises students’ interest in reading, and in speaking about and writing down the ideas and opinions the Program encourages them to express. And because their service project is one they’ve picked themselves, they’re much more eager to do the research, reports, planning, analyses, and persuasive speaking and writing that it may require.
 
 
 
In social studies, the Program brings students in contact with real-world ideas and problems in positive, activating ways. The text then guides students to consider the community problems that concern them and helps them turn their concern into positive actions in their community, motivated by their intrinsic desire to make a difference in their world.
 
 
 
The Program creates learning experiences that are inherently interesting and motivating for students by using active teaching and learning methods that provide opportunities for all types of learners. These include working in teams, storytelling, innovative problem-solving approaches, experience-based projects, individual reflection, writing, use of the arts, and oral presentations.
 
 
 
The Giraffe Heroes Program also promotes academic learning by helping create a school climate of caring, responsibility and respect—conditions that support students’ working hard to achieve their goals.
 
 
 
Finally, all editions of the Giraffe Heroes Program present dozens of compelling stories of “Giraffes”—self-motivated, compassionate heroes, sticking their necks out for causes that are important to them. Students are inspired by these stories, they discuss and reflect on the qualities of these heroes, and then look for these same qualities in people in their own school and community—and in themselves.
 
 
 
22. School performance. Child has B average or better. (S)
 
See the correlation to Asset #21.
 
 
 
23. Homework. Child reports one or more hours of homework per day. (N)
 
 
 
24. Bonding to school. Child cares about his/her school. (S)
 
Because it provides a positive, exciting, self-affirming experience, doing the Giraffe Heroes Program increases students’ respect for their school and their eagerness to be there.
 
In the Program, students learn caring, courageous and responsible behavior from Giraffe role models, and they put these qualities into action in their own lives by carrying out a service project. As students move through the Program, their modeling of these qualities can spill over to the rest of the school, including the teacher’s example and the instructional process; the management of the school environment; and the school’s student culture. All this makes the school a more attractive and supportive place to be.
 
25. Reading for pleasure. Child reads for pleasure three or more hours per week. (S)
 
The exciting, credible stories of Giraffe heroes in the Giraffe Heroes Program provide motivating content for reading. Users of the Program report that students who have a low interest in reading or even actively resist it can suddenly click into being avid readers, sparked by the content of Giraffe stories.
 
 
 
 
 
F. Values
The Giraffe Heroes Program teaches core values. While recognizing that these core values can be expressed in different ways, the Program organizes them into three—courage, caring and responsibility.
 
The Program succeeds as character education because it fully engages students in their own character development. It does not present values to students as slogans or concepts to be memorized. It introduces them through the compelling stories of heroes, followed by discussion and reflection. Students then deepen their understanding, first by finding their own heroes, then by putting these values into action in their own lives as they create and carry out service projects that meet public concerns important to them.
 
 
 
In the Giraffe Heroes Program, treatment of core values becomes more sophisticated with each age-level edition of the Program. While the concept of “acting for the common good” is central to all editions of the Program, for example, it is not used explicitly in the edition for grade levels K-2. In the K-2 , 3-5 and 6-9 editions, “responsibility” is expressed primarily as “seeing a problem, taking helpful action, and persisting. ” In the 10-12 edition, “responsibility” is broadened to include being responsible for attitudes as well as behavior, and the concept of “caring” is discussed as “active compassion.”
 
 
 
26. Caring. Child places high value on helping other people. (V)
Caring is a core value taught in the Giraffe Heroes Program:
All editions—Students learn caring from Giraffe role models, and they reflect on and discuss caring as a value.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S2)—students look for their own models of caring, including in their school. When they find such models, including in staff or in other students, they invite them to class. The effect is to publicize caring as an ideal in the school.
3-5 (S2L5) and 6-9 (S2L4)—students spot Giraffe qualities, including caring, in themselves.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3) and 10-12 (entire book)—students put their caring into action by carrying out a service project that helps other people and serves a community need. Throughout the Program, students form caring attachments to adults, to each other, and to the community as a whole. They learn to care for and to support each other as a team. The effect can permeate the entire school, with the example of students in the Program affecting the behavior of staff and other students.
10-12—In Chapter 1, students reflect on the idea that service to others is a path to meaning in their lives. In Chapter 4, they learn that compassion is more than good intentions, that it can resolve conflicts, open doors and improve lives. In Chapters 11 and 12, students learn that good leaders form trusting relationships with those they lead, and that trust is built on caring.
27. Equality and social justice. Child places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty. (V)
Many of the stories of Giraffe role models in the Giraffe Heroes Program are about people engaged in efforts to promote equality and reduce hunger and poverty:
K-2—Giraffe stories on pp. 47, 53, 66, G19, G21, G31 and G35.
3-5—Giraffe stories on pp. 71, 97, 101, 107, 111, 115, 117 and 135.
6-9—Giraffe stories on pp. 77, 91 and 109.
10-12—Giraffe story on page 3.
 
All Giraffe stories are followed by discussions and reflection questions:
 
 
 
K-2 (S3N1-3), 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N1) and 10-12 (Ch. 2)—students assess needs in their community and decide on one as the basis for a service project. Often, students in the Program focus on issues of inequality, hunger or poverty.
 
 
 
28. Integrity. Child acts on convictions, stands up for his/her beliefs. (V)
The word “Giraffe” in the Giraffe Heroes Program describes the central theme of “sticking one’s neck out” for one’s beliefs. The Program leads students to take core values to heart, making them an ingrained way of thinking, feeling and acting in any and all situations.
 
All editions of the Program give students dozens of compelling stories of “Giraffes”— ordinary people acting on their convictions, standing up for their beliefs, then taking action. Students are inspired by these stories, they discuss and reflect on the qualities of these heroes, and then look for these same qualities in people in their own school and community—and in themselves.
 
3-5 (S2L1) and 6-9 (S1L3)—students discuss and reflect on risk-taking and the common good.
 
3-5 and 6-9 (S3 Intro)—students reflect on the difference between thinking and doing.
10-12 (Ch. 7)—Taking Responsibility and Making Decisions; (Ch. 5)—Risktaking and Courage—Have You Got the Nerve?
K-2, 3-5, and 6-9 (S3) and 10-12 (entire book)—students assess needs in their community and decide what they care most about. Then they design and carry out a service project that meets those concerns. In doing so they deal with the real-world obstacles and risks. They make and must keep commitments. Through repeatedly taking on moral challenges, students develop and practice moral skills and behavior; they learn that standing up for their beliefs not only can help solve public problems, but also makes them feel competent and valued. The Program helps create a new generation of active citizens who understand both their ability and their responsibility to take part in public life.
 
29. Honesty. Child “tells the truth even when it is not easy.” (S)
All editions of the Program present dozens of compelling stories of “Giraffes”— ordinary people exercising courageous compassion. Often a challenge for Giraffes is telling the truth, even when others are telling them to sit down and be quiet. Students are inspired by these stories, they discuss and reflect on the qualities of these heroes, and then look for these same qualities in people in their own school and community—and in themselves.
 
30. Responsibility. Child accepts and takes personal responsibility. (V)
Responsibility is a core value in the Giraffe Heroes Program:
All editions present exciting, credible stories of Giraffes honored by the Giraffe Project—ordinary people taking responsibility for solving public problems.
All editions focus on the impact individuals and groups can have on communities and the wider world and shows students how to have that impact. The Program helps create a new generation of active citizens who understand both their ability and their responsibility to take part in public life. Students learn that their concerns and their actions matter, that what they do can not only help solve real-world problems, but also make them feel competent and valued.
3-5 and 6-9 (S3 Intro)—students reflect on the difference between thinking and doing.
3-5 and 6-9 (S3N4)—students learn the importance of making a commitment; they make a formal commitment to completing their service project.
K-2, 3-5, and 6-9 (S3) and 10-12 (entire book)—guided by the text, students take responsibility for carrying out a service project they have designed themselves. They set and manage goals and timelines, accept assignments, make decisions, regularly assess their performance, cope with obstacles and risks, learn to work as a team, and reflect on what they’ve done and its impact on the community. In the course of implementing their service project, students become participants and stakeholders in the community—part of the active core of people who take responsibility for the common good.
 10-12—Chapter 7,Taking Responsibility and Making Decisions, teaches students to be fully responsible for attitudes as well as behavior. Chapters 10 and 11 are devoted exclusively to leadership skills.
 
31. Restraint. Child believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs. (V)
The Giraffe Heroes Program reduces the risks that lead to many problems for young people by giving them positive models, values and priorities they can say “Yes” to; it creates an environment that encourages and supports students in altering behavioral norms on their own. The Program assumes that young people want to do the right thing and gives them practical tools that will help them be responsible, productive members of their communities.
 
In all editions of the Program, students develop their own self-worth, courage and compassion by taking responsibility for creating and carrying out a challenging service project, designed to met concerns of importance to them. The Program helps them see that there are people who could use their skills. It gives them a sense of being important, lets them know they can make a difference, and builds their sense of commitment to society. It takes them outside their own lives. Especially for high-risk kids, it’s important that they buy into doing something for someone else.
 
 
 
As young people become involved in doing something positive for their communities, they are much less likely to get into negative behaviors, both because their internal priorities have shifted and because the competencies they demonstrate let them know they are strong enough to make and follow through on positive choices. Negative peer pressures can be fierce. The Giraffe Heroes Program helps students develop the courage and responsibility to buck those pressures—to be different in a positive way.
 
 
 
The Program also gives students many stories of real-life heroes called Giraffes. Among them are people working on substance abuse issues, including other young people. All of them are credible, attractive role models:
K-2—stories on pp. G23 and G47.
3-5—stories on pp. 93, 125 and 129.
6-9—stories on pp. 73, 87 and 103.
10-12—stories on pages 54 and 136.
 
 
 
G. Social Competencies
 
32. Planning and decision-making. Child has skill to plan ahead and make choices. (V)
What the Giraffe Heroes Program seeks to do—what has breadth and staying power—is to build students’ confidence and capacity for making self-directed choices that change their world for the better.
 
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3) and 10-12 (Ch. 2)—students evaluate needs in their communities (or beyond), then discuss and decide on what they care enough about to serve as the basis for a class service project. It’s important that the students themselves decide on and design the specific project they will tackle. This gives them, when they reach their goal, a sense of responsibility, accountability and satisfaction they wouldn’t have if they were simply told what project to take on. Especially for the older students, the teacher becomes more a coach and facilitator, offering suggestions and general guidance—but not controlling authority.
 
When students do pick an issue they care most about, and a project to work on, the choices reflect considerable thought and the conviction that what they are about to do meets genuine needs in the community, and has significant consequences for themselves and for the people who live there.
 
 
 
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N5) and 10-12 (Ch. 6)—students create plans for their service project. While the level of plan detail and complexity varies with the age of the students, all editions teach students how to establish clear goals, then to break those goals down into more detailed steps and tasks. Students learn to establish timelines for each component of their plan, and to assign and accept responsibilities for carrying out each part of the action. They meet regularly to assess progress, reflect and make any necessary course corrections.
 
 
 
Students are repeatedly given opportunities to make choices about their actions, helping them become committed to their service project. It becomes their work, not an arbitrary assignment, and they become determined to achieve the goals they set.
 
10-12 (Ch. 7, pp. 82-89)—making decisions.; (Ch. 6)—planning; (Ch. 10-11)—leadership.
 
 
 
33. Interpersonal competence. Child has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills. (V)
Throughout the Giraffe Heroes Program, students learn to work effectively in small groups and teams:
3-5 and 6-9 (S1 and S2)—working together to identify Giraffes and Giraffe qualities.
6-9 (S1)—developing a joint definition of a hero.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N5) and 10-12 (Ch. 6)—guided by the text, students decide on, design, and carry out a service project. In this process, appropriate to their grade level, students learn and practice ways of group functioning, including discussion and debate, voting, creating and carrying out a joint plan, resolving conflicts, and working as a team.
3-5 and 6-9 (S3N6)—creating a Giraffe Club to take on additional service projects.
10-12 (Ch. 4)—learning active compassion; (Ch. 9)—negotiating, resolving conflicts and finding common ground.
 
34. Cultural competence. Child has knowledge of and comfort with people of different racial backgrounds. (S)
 
All editions—the Giraffe-heroes whose stories appear throughout the Giraffe Heroes program represent a wide range of racial, ethnic and economic and social backgrounds. For stories specifically on diversity issues, see:
 
K-2—stories on pp. G15 and G45
3-5—stories on pp. 89, 95, 106, 113 and 133.
6-9—stories on pp. 89, 117.
10-12—stories on pp. 9 and 150.
 
Depending on the service project they choose, students may work with many different kinds of people in situations that test their abilities to listen, to value opposing viewpoints, and to find common ground. In the 10-12 edition, Chapter 9 guides students in negotiating, resolving conflicts and finding common ground.
 
 
 
35. Resistance skills. Child can resist negative peer pressure. (V)
The Giraffe Heroes Program builds a student’s resistance skills by helping him or her build positive goals and a positive sense of self.
 
Giraffe stories present attractive, credible role models. And as young people become involved in doing something positive for their communities, they are much less likely to get into negative behaviors, both because their internal priorities have shifted and because the competencies they demonstrate let them know they are strong enough to make and follow through on positive choices. Negative peer pressures can be fierce. The Giraffe Heroes Program helps students develop the courage and responsibility to buck those pressures—to be different in a positive way. See the correlations to Assets #28 and 31.
 
 
 
36. Peaceful conflict resolution. Child seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently. (V)
As students in the Giraffe Heroes Program become involved in doing something positive for their communities, they become less likely to engage in negative behaviors, including violence. See the correlations to Assets #28, 31 and 35.
 
The Giraffe Heroes Program promotes teamwork by giving students the skills and experience of working effectively in small groups to achieve goals they’ve jointly decided are important:
3-5 and 6-9 (S1 and S2)—working as a team to identify Giraffes and Giraffe qualities.
3-5 and 6-9 (S3N6)—creating a Giraffe Club.
6-9 (S1)—developing a joint definition of a hero.
10-12 (Ch. 4)—learning active compassion; (Ch. 9)—negotiating, resolving conflicts and finding common ground.
 
Students’ service projects often include opportunities to resolve conflicts, both among students and sometimes with community members affected by the project:
 
All editions—guided by the text, students decide among themselves what they want to work on and carry out a service project they have designed themselves. In that process, appropriate to their grade level, students learn and practice ways of group functioning, including discussion and debate, voting, resolving conflicts, and working as a team.
 
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3N5) and 10-12 (Ch. 6)—as part of their service projects, students work with community members to gather suggestions and additional resources. They become aware of, and take into account, community attitudes and sensitivities, especially those that might be directly affected by their project.
 
 
H. Positive Identity
37. Personal control. Child feels she/he has control over “things that happen to me.” (V)
The Giraffe Heroes Program gives students confidence that they can control their own lives by building their capacity for self-motivation.
 
By fully engaging students in their own character development, the Program helps them take moral values to heart, and to absorb them as a permanent way of thinking, feeling and acting in any and all situations:
 
All editions—the Giraffe Heroes Program gives students stories of real heroes—self-actualized people who stand up for what they believe in no matter what the odds. The stories go straight to the heart and stay there, where the student can call on them as models for new choices and actions.
 
All editions—the Program guides students to depend on intrinsic motivation and not external rewards. It believes that an expectation of being rewarded draws students towards thinking about the reward instead of fully experiencing the intrinsic joy, excitement and satisfaction of service. The Program assumes that human beings have a natural instinct to be altruistic and that exercising that instinct brings its own satisfaction.
10-12—Chapters 10 and 11 deal with leadership issues. Key concepts are that anybody can lead at the level they need to lead; that leadership skills build on who you already are; and that leadership is a skill you can learn and get better at over time.
 
By giving students responsibility and accountability in a service project, the Program deepens their sense of personal control:
 
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3) and 10-12 (entire book)—students evaluate needs in their community, decide on one they care most about, then design and carry out a service project that helps meet that concern. This strategy gives them, when they reach their goal, a sense of responsibility, control and satisfaction they wouldn’t have if they were simply told what project to take on. The service project itself is not the main objective; what the Giraffe Heroes Program seeks to do—what has breadth and staying power—is to build students’ confidence and capacity for making self-directed choices.
 
 
 
38. Self-esteem. Child reports high self-esteem. (V)
 
The Giraffe Heroes Program assumes that within every kid—even the hard-case ones—there’s a brave, upright and compassionate human being who could be brought forth.
 
 
 
All editions of the Giraffe Heroes Program present dozens of compelling stories of “Giraffes”—self-confident, compassionate heroes, sticking their necks out for the common good. Students are inspired by these stories; they discuss and reflect on the qualities of these heroes, and then look for these same qualities in people in their own school and community—and in themselves:
 
K-2 (S1 and S2)—students learn about heroes and heroic qualities by actively building their definitions with the help of puppet friends, Stan and Bea Tall.
 
3-5 and 6-9 (S1 and S2)—students learn about heroes and heroic qualities, and they learn how to differentiate heroes from celebrities. Then they affirm that knowledge by actively searching for heroes in their studies and in their communities, then telling their stories in class.
K-2 (S2L4)—being brave, caring and persistent.
3-5 (S1L3)—being courageous, caring, and persistent; taking helpful action.
6-9 (S1L4)—being courageous and caring and taking responsibility.
3-5 (S2L5) and 6-9 (S2L4)—students spot Giraffe qualities in themselves.
10-12—students learn active compassion (Ch. 4); courage (Ch. 5); taking responsibility (Ch. 7); and leadership (Ch. 10-11).
 
Students strengthen heroic qualities in themselves by designing and carrying out a challenging service project:
 
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S3) and 10-12 (entire book)—students build their self-esteem, and their senses of competence and personal power, by evaluating needs in their community, then creating and carrying out a service project that helps meet a concern they care about. Carrying out their service project with this strong degree of accountability and responsibility gives students, when they reach their goal, a sense of accomplishment they wouldn’t have if they were simply told what project to take on. They learn that “sticking their necks out” to help solve public problems not only helps solve the problems, but also makes them feel competent and valued.
 
 
 
39. Sense of purpose. Child reports “my life has a purpose.” (V)
 
The Giraffe Heroes Program teaches students that they have the capacity and the responsibility for helpful action in the world.
 
 
 
All editions of the Giraffe Heroes Program present dozens of compelling stories of “Giraffes”—self-confident, compassionate, purposeful heroes, sticking their necks out for causes that are important to them. Students are inspired by these stories, they discuss and reflect on the qualities of these heroes, and then look for these same qualities in people in their own school and community—and in themselves:
 
K-2 (S1 and S2)—students learn about heroes and heroic qualities by actively building their definitions with the help of puppet friends, Stan and Bea Tall.
 
3-5 and 6-9 (S1 and S2)—students learn about heroes and heroic qualities, and they learn how to differentiate heroes from celebrities. Then they affirm that knowledge by actively searching for heroes in their studies and in their communities, then telling their stories in class.
10-12 (Ch. 1)—students make the explicit connection between service to others and leading a meaningful life.
K-2, 3-5 and 6-9 (S2)—students look for heroes in their school and community—people sticking their necks out for causes they believe in. Becoming more aware of local role models helps students combat cynicism, gives them hope, and builds their sense of the possibilities for their own lives.
 
The Giraffe Heroes Program involves students directly in purposeful, moral action. Students work together to make choices about their concerns; then they design and carry out a service project that helps meets them:
 
K-2, 3-5, and 6-9 (S3) and 10-12 (entire book)—students evaluate the needs they see in their community, then design and carry out a service project that helps meet the need they care most about. They confront obstacles, conflicts and risks to fulfill the vision they’ve set for themselves and their project.
 
 
 
Getting involved in this way makes students participants and stakeholders in the community, part of the active, caring core of people who care about the common good. Endless studies have described “disconnection” and “isolation” as factors in young people’s destructive behaviors; helping them connect with their community is the antidote. In service projects guided by the Giraffe Heroes Program, students exercise their humanity and empathy. They learn responsibility and discipline, and they see themselves as included in the community. They find purpose in meaningful action.
 
 
 
40. Positive view of personal future. Child is optimistic about his/her personal future. (V)
All editions—the Giraffe Heroes Program introduces students to Giraffe heroes who not only model good character, but are also involved, outspoken citizens. These Giraffes look at the world around them with keen, caring eyes, observing for themselves what needs to be done and stepping forward to get it done. Their stories are antidotes to the hopelessness and disengagement of, “It’s all too much for me to deal with.”
 
K-2, 3-5, and 6-9 (S3) and 10-12 (entire book)—students evaluate the needs they see in their community, then design and carry out a service project that helps meet the need they care most about. Getting students involved in this way makes them participants and stakeholders in the community; they learn they can affect what happens there (see correlations to Assets #37-39).
 
 
 
As students absorb Giraffe stories and move into concerned, active involvement in their community, they become more optimistic about their personal futures. They begin to see their world and their role in it with new eyes, the eyes of contributing citizens. They learn that their concerns and their actions matter, that what they do can not only change what happens, but also make them feel competent and valued. This experience of effective participation is indelible and usable, throughout their lives.
 
 
 
10-12 (Ch.12)—the final chapter of the book for highschoolers, Where Do You Go From Here? challenges students to accept their own worthiness and responsibility to make a difference in the world, and to plot the course for joyful, meaningful lives.
 
 

 

A GIFT TO SCHOOLS

 

iutucoverIn classrooms since 1991,
we’ve had plenty of time to
test our ways of teaching
character and service.
As technology changes,
we’re converting our
proven content into
digital forms. Now,
the first downloadable
program is ready for you—
It’s Up to Us, for teens.
And it's free! 
Take a look!.

Are Your Kids Giraffed?

Giraffed Kids

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Stay Informed & Inspired

From time to time, Ann Medlock, this Project's founder, does a brief but inspiring email called Heads Up. You can check out past copies here. They're so good (and so free) we bet you'll join the Heads Up circle and send them on to friends & family.

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A TRAINING KIT

The Giraffe Heroes Kit

We now offer you a tool kit you can use to train tomorrow's heroes, in class or after school. (Full info)

PAST & PRESENT PARTNERS

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Grades K-2 Guide

Stan Tall & Bea Tall, our twin spokesgiraffes 
for the K-2 Giraffe Heroes Program 
have some bad news and some good news. 
First—the K-2 is no longer for sale in print. 
And here’s the good news—
The entire K-2 program will soon be a free download!
Lesson plans, videos, audio tracks, dozens of stories, 
printable handouts, correlations, & links to resources—
it will all be in a free download to your computer.
We’re working as fast as we can to complete the conversion.
If you’d like to be notified when it goes online,
email us, we’ll make sure you get the word.

Grades 3-5 Guide

Out of print

Grades 6-9 Guide

 
Order
The Giraffe Heroes Program
for your 6-9 students
$195
   
     

Voices of Hope



Service-Learning Guide

$21.95

Student Anthology

$12.95