BEST ME: A Resilience Building After School Curriculum for Children 5-12 Years Old was developed for use in WVSA's BEST ME program, which targets children in foster care. The curriculum uses evidence-based and well documented practices on building resilience through (a) caring relationships, (b) high expectations and adequate support to meet them, and (c) opportunities to contribute to others. The book is divided into six units: Self Esteem; Decision Making; Feelings; Healthy Me; Drug Prevention; and Cultural Awareness. Each unit is divided into three to six sessions. Each session clearly defines objectives and outlines learning activities. BEST ME is a living and growing curriculum. New sessions and activities will be added to WVSA's website periodically.
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L. Lawrence Riccio, Ed.D., President and CEO, WVSA arts connection, is an educator with expertise in arts-infused programs for children and youth with special needs in Washington, DC. Dr. Riccio is also Professor of Special Education Programs at Trinity College in Washington, DC, and an honorary lecturer, Faculty of Education at University of Glasgow, Scotland. Dr. Riccio's educational background includes a B.S. and an M.A. in Psychology from Ohio State University and a Doctorate in Special Education from The George Washington University. He has been an important voice for youth with disabilities in the District of Columbia for the past two decades.
David Paul Boyle, M.A., M.Des., Publications Coordinator, WVSA arts connection, is a Digital Illustrator and Art Editor with extensive experience in children's publishing. He holds a Master of Design from Glasgow School of Art and a Master of Arts and Social Sciences from University of Glasgow. He has been instrumental in the development of the modern day children's comic book since its joint promotion with children's television and licensing in the 1980's and 90's, working both at Marvel Comics, London and BBC Worldwide. He also has recently researched the "child's contribution to the modern picture book," challenging and revising previous commercial and educational perceptions of children's narrative.
Desiree L. Smith, B.A., Programs Manager, WVSA arts connection, holds a B.A. in English Literature and a Women's Studies Certificate from the University of Maryland. She has worked extensively in community organizations developing and implementing programs for children with special needs and their families, including the formerly homeless residing in transitional housing. Ms. Smith has incorporated the arts into these programs as an educational tool. She is currently completing supervision for certification as a Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist.
Judy Rollins, B.F.A., M.S., R.N., Director of Research and Program Development, WVSA arts connection, is a nurse with a fine arts degree in the visual arts and a Master of Science degree in Child Development and Family Studies. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Health and Community Studies at DeMontfort University in Leicester, England and an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. She is associate editor of Pediatric Nursing and consults, writes, and researches on children's issues.
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