All I Want For Christmas Is…Groups!

All I Want For Christmas Is…Groups!

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to lead a Support Group each week. This year, I spent my Wednesday mornings with 6 high school students who laughed, questioned, shared, and began to trust each other by the end of our time together.

It was awesome.

But the best part came during our last meeting when the students had a chance to share encouragement with each other through symbols. Each group member passed their sheets around and added symbols to describe each person. Some of these symbols included things like: strong, easy to talk to, brave, calm, keep a secret, safe with, smart, and spend the day with. It was so encouraging to get your own sheet back and see what the group thought of you.

While I had fun looking at my own sheet, I loved hearing what symbols excited my teen friends. One boy was so excited because several people said they would like to “spend the day with” him. To give some context to this teenage boy, he consistently kept the group on our toes. He was routinely 10 minutes late to group, told the most outrageous stories, and always managed to sprinkle several curse words over the time we spent together.

Overall, he was a mess. But on this day, with these symbols, he was floored.

He smiled a huge smile and declared that he didn’t want group to end so we could continue hanging out each week.

As a group leader, this was a huge win! I was able to watch a student who had little confidence but always turned group into a joke come alive. After hearing what the other groups members had to say were our strengths, we then talked about our own inner strengths and how we can use them to help others. This same boy who rarely had a serious moment shared that he felt his strength was “persistence.” He talked about the ways he had overcome hard times but was still here and moving forward.

That is what we want to help all teenagers see as they go through Teen Life Support Groups. They have strengths. They have the ability to move forward, even when life is hard and unfair. They have people who are in their corner – peers and adults who are cheering them on.

Can you imagine going through High School with little confidence, support, or hope? How hard are those teenage years even in the best circumstances?

But we can help. We can give support, encouragement, hope, and a place to be safe and heard. We can give teenagers the gift of Support Groups! I am passionate about groups because I see the impact they have each week. And there is still time for you to join Teen Life and equip teenagers this holiday season!

You can equip, encourage, and empower students by giving to Teen Life!

May more students receive hope and support in 2019. May every school who needs Support Groups have access in the near future. May we all look for ways to help schools and students this season and the coming year!

If you want to be a part of a student’s story, you can give and sponsor a Support Group or teenager here.

Karlie Duke was in one of Teen Life’s original support groups and now is our Marketing & Development Director. She is passionate about encouraging students to live better stories.
The Unexpected Loss by Suicide with Vanita Halliburton

The Unexpected Loss by Suicide with Vanita Halliburton

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At the age of 19, Vanita Halliburton’s teenage son, Grant, took his life by suicide. Following his death, Vanita co-founded the Grant Halliburton Foundation to strengthen the network of mental health resources for children, teens, and young adults; promote better mental health; and help prevent suicide.

Vanita uses her experience with the unexpected loss of her son to help educate and encourage others struggling with the loss of family and friends. In this conversation, we talk about the warning signs of a crisis, symptoms to look for to prevent suicide, questions to ask, and how to help a teen who is hurting.

This interview is full of wisdom for parents, school staff, and helpers who come in contact with teenagers who are hurting or in hard places. Let’s continue the conversation and take a look at mental health for teens!

 

The hardest thing about losing my son to suicide was losing my son. Period.
Vanita Halliburton

Resources for suicide prevention:

In this episode, we mentioned the following resources:

About Us

Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Chris Robey

Chris Robey

CEO

Vanita Halliburton

Vanita Halliburton

Special Guest

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