“TeaTime” at Spain is Prioritizing Emotional, Mental and Social Strengths
After taking the time to establish trust and build rapport, Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) Spain School Social Worker Shantael Harbin, was inspired to start an all-girls group -TeaTime - a safe space where girls come together once a week, to not only “spill the tea” but to enhance social emotional learning, part of the District’s Whole Child Commitment priority and in concert with Dr. Vitti’s message of having DPSCD students be Prepared, Loved and Challenged.
“Several girls would come to me with their issues,” said Harbin, DPSCD Social Worker and Cass Tech Alumnae. “After working at Spain for three years, I thought starting a group could be a positive way to empower young girls who may have other needs.”
During group, the girls discuss various topics including, bullying, communication, isolation, self-esteem, body image, trauma, peer conflict, personal hygiene, and how to manage stress and other emotions.
As a seven-week pilot program, TeaTime is currently available to students in grades 6-8. Harbin plans to extend the group to elementary school girls, hoping to reach them at a younger age. She believes by doing so, the program will have an even greater impact on their social and emotional well-being. Harbin said the girls set the tone for how they want to be viewed and treated by others, and if they set the bar high to love and respect themselves, those around them will do the same. The goal is for the girls to dig deeper, recognize their strengths and focus on inner personality traits.
“Having this group is so important because it focuses on inclusion,” said Frederick Cannon, Spain Principal. “It almost seemed as if programs for girls are nonexistent. So many programs are developed to address the needs of young men, that the needs of our young ladies have gone unmet. I can see the impact of this program through the change in behavior of our girls, and I am thankful to have dedicated staff like Ms. Harbin who is leading this change.”
DPSCD has partnered with The Family Medical Center of Michigan to provide behavioral health services to all students at Spain. If Harbin has any concerns related to home, school and/or the emotional and psychological well-being of the girls, she will refer them to receive the appropriate services.
DPSCD social workers are available to provide online counseling to students and parents. In addition to online counseling, students and families will be able to receive referrals for additional resources. For assistance, call the District’s Mental Health Hot Line at 1-833-466-3978 Mondays – Thursdays from 5 p.m.- 8 p.m.