Moving Beyond Trauma-Informed to Real Action

The Miss Kendra Program, featured in the documentary Resilience: The Biology of Stress & The Science of Hope, is a cost-effective trauma prevention program for schools and other organizations working with children and youth from kindergarten to college.

The fictional Miss Kendra, the core feature of the programs, addresses the need of every child for a caring adult who empathizes with them as they share the difficult truths in their lives. Through open classroom conversations, children can learn that when they talk about their experiences, they can find the help they need. The children also share their concerns by writing letters to Miss Kendra and receiving empathetic responses that assure them they have been heard. By sharing their worries and burdens, children improve their capacity to attend to academic work, remain calm when facing demands, and develop a more secure sense of self.

The Miss Kendra Programs follow a preventive, public health framework based on 1) reaching all students, 2) brief but frequent contact, and 3) early intervention. Our programs are educational, giving students language for difficult experiences; interpersonal, teaching students to show care and concern for others who are suffering; and strengths-based, helping students develop strategies of resilience and fortitude in the face of adversity.

Our Miss Kendra Programs move schools beyond being trauma-informed into real action. The many schools that have implemented our Miss Kendra’s programs have seen substantial decreases in incidents of fighting and aggression, suspensions, and office referrals, as well as a reduction in overall stress levels among the students.