“Friendship,” said Christopher Robin, “is a very comforting thing to have.”
~ A. A. Milne
Christopher Robin and his friends in the 100 Acre Wood introduced us to the importance of forming solid, lasting friendships. In the real world, countless studies have shown that healthy and close friendships benefit both our health and well-being. Research also finds that an increasing number of young people today are suffering from loneliness.
Krista Diamond, CDS Director of Community Wellness and Upper School Counselor, shares, “One of the most common issues we hear about from 9th and 10th graders is feeling like they don't have the type of meaningful friendships they long for. Their feelings represent a societal epidemic of loneliness, exacerbated by COVID and putting students at risk for more serious mental health issues if not addressed.”
This week, CDS 9th and 10th grade students met with Danielle Bayard Jackson, a certified friendship coach, to begin a 4-week workshop series to learn how to create and sustain meaningful friendships. This program offers a much-needed lifeline to help students understand the nature of friendships and how to find and forge meaningful relationships. Jackson points out, “The single greatest factor that impacts our overall life satisfaction and well-being is the quality of our friendships.”
By the end of the workshop, the students will be able to:
- identify and combat feelings of loneliness and isolation
- recognize signs of healthy friendships
- confidently initiate a new friendship
- recognize the traits of toxic friends
- confidently communicate boundaries and navigate friendship conflicts
- articulate personal goals for creating and maintaining healthy friendships
However, the work will not stop with the end of the workshop. The 9th and 10th grade advisors, in partnership with the upper school counselors, Krista Diamond and Pedro Miller, and our SEL (social-emotional learning) leads will continue to focus on the skills needed to build friendships and connections with the students. Through conversations, role playing, reflection, and other activities, the students will practice and gain confidence learning to have and be good friends.
CDS Wellness Philosophy
Through programs valuing connection, resiliency, diversity and mental health, the Wellness team provides an essential part of the CDS experience, helping to build a community to better the world.