Middle School Listening Circles
Focus on Social-Emotional Learning
Middle school youth at Banyan are pretty special and its reflected in programming specific to 6th
and 8th graders. Youth learn about a wide range of careers each year through workplace visits, and make small scale engineering projects with some of Banyan’s most committed volunteers. Middle schoolers paint impressive works of art that tour around various churches and schools, AND canoe down class-three rapids in the middle of Wisconsin’s North woods.
However, there is one unique program that middle school youth get excited about every week. It doesn’t get much publicity, but it is at the heart of our middle school programs. Every Tuesday middle schoolers divide up into two Listening Circles; the boys meet at the Banyan House, and the girls meet at the Banyan Center. This critical forum gives youth the opportunity to talk about adolescence, aspirations, dreams and the challenges that threaten those dreams.
The small group setting helps Banyan staff earn the trust of the youth, and it aids in creating a setting where kids are comfortable opening up. Listening Circles focus on social-emotional learning, which is key to long-term success in every part of life.