SEL Awardee

Ami Anderson

ROOTS Program
Indianapolis Public Schools
Indianapolis, IN
“ROOTS (Reclaiming Our Opportunities To Succeed) is a therapeutic day treatment program that serves Indianapolis Public School students in grades K-12 who are struggling to succeed in school and the community due to significant emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges. Prior to placement in the ROOTS Program, our students are often suspended or expelled from school due to aggression and disruption. Not surprisingly, all of our students are impacted by trauma and chronic stress. Traumatic and highly stressful childhood experiences are known to have a lifelong impact on one's wellbeing. Scientists have found that interventions and access to positive experiences can significantly counter the damaging effects of stress and trauma. This project centers on the addition of therapy chickens to the trauma-informed work we do at the ROOTS Program. While it may come as a surprise to some, chickens offer significant therapeutic benefits for people of all ages and have proven to be a powerful therapeutic tool for people like our students who suffer from anxiety, depression, isolation, and loneliness. In fact, recent studies on the impact of adding therapy chickens to the programming at nursing homes has shown a reduction of altercations among residents, a reduction of antipsychotic drug use, and increased of involvement of the family and friends of the residents. In addition to the positive impact this project will have our students' mental health, raising therapy chickens will also help teach our students important life skills including accountability, responsibility, sharing, empathy, compassion and critical thinking skills.”
Tags: Elementary School, Students Affected by Suspensions, Teacher, Traditional Public School, Urban