The Reconnection Project

A program to reduce stress and anxiety in school communities.

I love helping individual kids and families, but what bothers me so deeply is that stress and anxiety issues are affecting so many children: sadly, I rarely meet a teenager or young adult who isn’t dealing with chronic stress or anxiety and whose confidence and joy levels are appropriately high. Kids should be having a ball, right? Not worried about everything they do. What stresses me out is I cannot help them all working with them individually.

Interestingly, this stress seems pervasive and appears to cut across geographic and socio-economic lines: children from schools of all types are ending up with similar stress, anxiety, abandonment issues, loneliness, and PTSD. Left untreated, this chronic stress and anxiety can manifest itself in many ways, which range from destructive to deadly: from vaping to sexting to over-functioning to phone addiction to bullying to drug/alcohol use to suicide, the cries for help are everywhere.

Much of this stress comes from what I call The Bombardment—recent cultural issues that affect children negatively. But what I have found is that The Bombardment also causes parents to parent differently: because of this, many parents now use a very different playbook from previous generations. And what educators now realize is that enabling and vicarious parenting are wreaking havoc on our ability to reach kids and help them calm down and be resilient.

As someone who loves kids and wants to help them, all these dynamics have been frustrating, to say the least.

More and more educators are recognizing this problem, but don’t know what to do about it. So we at JLC have come up with a plan to counter chronic stress in schools: enter The Reconnection Project.

The Great Isolator

We call stress “The Great Isolator” because so many stress causes many people—children and adults—to retreat within themselves and even cut themselves off from friends and family. With today’s chronic stress, this isolation can also become chronic, and it becomes downright dangerous, as our increasing suicide rate among teens tells us. Therefore, a big part of reducing this stress is to develop a framework that forges connection. And that is exactly what The Reconnection Project does.

The RP works with students, educators, and parents to reduce stress in the entire school community by increasing connection among all three legs of the “stool,” as we like to put it: We offer programs for educators to teach them how to reduce stress in the classroom. We work with parents to get them rowing in the same direction as school staff, so the kids get consistent messages and support. We also work with the adults to reduce their stress levels, as stressed-out teachers and parents cannot effectively help children reduce stress.

More important, the RP works school-wide to get kids to help kids. What we often forget because of The Bombardment is that kids are hard-wired the same way they have always been and love to be of service to others. We harness that desire to get kids to be of service to EACH OTHER. We provide training to high-functioning kids so they can help their classmates and plant the seeds of empathy and, most importantly, connection, in all students. The kids love the face-to-face interaction. They love the focus on journey, not results. They love learning what makes them tick and overcoming internal obstacles. And they start to relax and feel like they are in control of their lives, no matter where they are at the moment.

To insure that the RP is effective in all school settings, we have a team of educators with a range of experience to help staff at both public and private schools of all types. All of us are available to consult with school administrators and faculty members to make sure we are addressing your school’s particular issues.

Here are our brochures that describe the RP in more detail:

The Reconnection Project for Public Schools

The Reconnection Project for Independent Schools

As you can see, we have different levels to meet any school budget.

We welcome the opportunity to work with you so we can help your students, faculty, and parents. Feel free to contact me to discuss your school’s particular needs.

Video release form for students who want to participate in the Reconnection Project video.