Emerging research shows that Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) – things like participating in community traditions, having a sense of belonging, and feeling supported by adults – positively impact young people’s mental health and social-emotional growth. The study found that adults who had more PCEs in their youth had lower likelihoods of depression and higher likelihood of strong interpersonal relationships.

This effect continues even when adults experienced traumatic events in childhood, like abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence at home or in their community. By integrating positive experiences directly in the school day with Embarc, schools can become places that provide young people of color and young people in low-income households (who are more likely to experience traumatic events) with the PCEs that will encourage healing.

Importantly, the goals of PCEs are the same goals Embarc holds: helping young people feel a sense of belonging, develop strong relationships with adults, and build strong communities. And as we scale our whole school models across the city, we’re helping thousands of young people access the healing they need after this year.

It is critical that the young people of color who’ve been most harmed by the pandemic access holistic learning that promotes their healing and wellness. As we expand to serve more than 4,000 students, Embarc will help our young people find a sense of belonging and support directly within their schools. By building access to positive learning experience directly in the school day, we are helping our five new whole schools become places that heal, teach, and build community in a radical new way.

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