Student Profiles: Tristin Travis, C'2015
As a WINGS for Kids leader, Tristin Travis, C'2015, spends the majority of her afternoons working to improve the social and emotional learning skills of area youth. In her role, Travis works with third-grade girls who need extra guidance both in and out of the classroom, helping them control emotions, empathize with others, avoid peer pressure and identify feelings. She spends five or more hours each afternoon serving as a WINGS leader for students who are enrolled in the WINGS program from Fulton County’s S.L. Lewis and Heritage Elementary schools. As a group leader, Travis works with students to enhance their skill set through SEL – or Social and Emotional Learning.
“I have worked with kids since I was 15, and I plan to incorporate youth causes into my professional career as a broadcast journalist by focusing on elementary-age students – influencing and making a difference in their impressionable lives,” says Travis, a native Atlantan. “The WINGS for kids program is unique and impactful, as it offers something beneficial for both the kids and the staff. Being involved is worth the extra hours and hectic schedule.”
SEL theory implies growing a child’s emotional coping skills will increase his or her performance in the classroom – and throughout life.
“When I was growing up, neither I nor my peers had something like WINGS as a resource to grow our social and emotional well-being,” says Travis. “Paying attention to this specific skill set is important for kids and their growth in and out of the classroom. These techniques help students learn to perform in class despite the many disconnects that can inhibit learning – and these can be applied to situations far beyond their immediate experience.”
Becoming a WINGSLeader
Travis’ experience with WINGS all started with a tee shirt. “I asked a classmate wearing a ‘WINGS for kids’ tee shirt what it was, and her answer piqued my interest,” says Travis. “Soon after, I began emailing with the coordinator and filled out an application.”
Once her initial application was accepted, she was interviewed by a team of WINGS representatives who adhere to a strict set of criteria in selecting who will become group leaders for an entire school calendar year.
WINGSLeaders receive a stipend of $8,855 – which equates to approximately $10 per hour –paid out regularly throughout the school year. An education award is also available for eligible members upon completion of service.
After being selected for the program, WINGSLeaders are sent to a one-week training session in Charleston, S.C., where the WINGS for kids program was founded. Students learn how to teach and apply SEL techniques, observe experienced WINGSLeaders in action and participate in team building exercises with their fellow staff members.
WINGSLeaders must reapply each year and go through the training, as the program and curriculum tend to evolve annually based on success and leader, child, parent and school administrator feedback. Leaders are encouraged to serve more than one term in order to continue cultivating the SEL of children from year to year.
About WINGS for Kids
Founded 17 years ago in Charleston, S.C., the WINGS program expanded to Atlanta in fall 2012. WINGS serves a vulnerable population, recruiting students who attend the most at-risk public elementary schools from low-income, predominantly African-American families and is offered at no cost to schools, students or their parents. In July 2013, WINGS announced it had been awarded a national Edna McConnell Clark Foundation grant of up to $3.6 million. With the grant, WINGS plans to expand its program in up to 16 schools across four communities in Georgia and South Carolina. For more information on WINGS for Kids Atlanta, please visit www.WINGSforKids.org.
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