Soft music plays as a silver-haired woman and grade school students head over to a circle of chairs in a classroom. Posters decorate the walls and crafts adorn a bulletin board.
ON SCREEN TEXT: Phoenix, AZ
PAULA: Welcome to meetup.
A digital clock reads 12:25. A girl wears a large bow in her hair and swings her legs as she sits.
VANESSA: Meetup is when we all get together and we share our feelings with each other.
PAULA: Any questions or any kind of concerns with regard to your class or anything you need help with today?
A girl chews her lip, and more kids swing their feet and fidget in the circle.
ON SCREEN TEXT: Vanessa Gomez
VANESSA: My name is Vanessa. I am eight years old. I just like telling other people my feelings, like, struggle or something. I don't, like, keep it to myself. I tell them.
Vanessa’s pale rainbow bow features unicorns and stars. Words on her shirt form a smiley face: No Bad Moods. A handwritten sign outside an office reads Mrs. Harper, SEAD Specialist. Colorful flags on a garland across the front of her desk spell out her name. She works on her laptop.
PAULA: My name's Paula Harper. I'm here at Brunson-Lee Elementary, part of the Balsz School District, and they hired me on through a grant with UnitedHealthcare as a social emotional specialist.
An American flag flutters behind a sign outside Brunson-Lee Elementary: Children First, High Expectations, Academic Excellence, High Achievement. Balsz School District.
ON SCREEN TEXT: Paula Harper, NCC
Social Emotional Specialist
PAULA: My hope is that it's about connection. It's about being able to feel safe enough to talk to someone.
Paula smiles and nods as one of the kids in the circle talks. Other kids patiently raise their hands. A boy leans over to listen to the student beside him.
PAULA: Trauma's universal, it's all of us, and we want to be a support, 'cause when bad things have happened to these young kids, one safe, caring adult can make a difference.
The kids in the meetup circle listen as Vanessa shares. A brown-haired woman interviews.
ON SCREEN TEXT: Pilar Vargas, Psy.D.
UnitedHealthcare Children’s Healthcare Administrator, Arizona
PILAR: When we address these needs of these children and family and the trauma experience, they--
it leads to prevention and leads to a decrease in truancy, decrease in long-term substance use--or use.
Kids wait in line to get on a school bus. One student has a Toy Story 4 backpack with words on it: Play Time. The bus pulls away from the curb and heads off under a cloudy blue sky.
PILAR: It helps increase a child's well-being.
Students line up near Paula on a patio and wait to go inside. As their feet shuffle by, the screen darkens and white text appears.
ON SCREEN TEXT: In addition to support
groups for students, an
Empowering Health grant
training for teachers and staff.
One kid tosses a ball in the air as the line snakes inside. A woman with wavy hair interviews at her desk.
ON SCREEN TEXT: Leticia Castro
Principal, Brunson-Lee Elementary
LETICIA: We need to do this now because we are in crisis, and Ms. Harper really believes about relationships, modeling for teachers, modeling for our students: how do we safely express our feelings?
As Paula addresses her meetup group of students, a little girl somberly listens. A laminated pink star hangs from the ceiling as the meeting continues.
PAULA: So something positive from today, and then something that is not so great that you might need some help with. How are you feeling?
A boy in a maroon sweatshirt holds a talking stick.
A boy in a blue sweatshirt speaks up.
ON SCREEN TEXT: Ryan Saldana
RYAN: Just helps other grown-ups understand what their students are feeling.
A bulletin board features a girl with glasses beside a square that reads When someone feels embarrassed. Speech bubbles emerge from the square with ideas of what to say: That has happened to me too. It’s okay.
VANESSA: It's not, like, great seeing another person as sad than you, because you can feel empathy
from another person. You feel the other person's feelings.
The rest of the bulletin board reads Empathy. I can understand and share the feelings of others. Other speech bubbles say Are you okay? I’m here for you. Awesome job! I’m happy for you!
PAULA: I think, as a school, being willing to broaden beyond academics and think about the whole child, we're creating hope.
Smiles spread across the kids’ faces as they interact in the circle. Blue text appears over a white background.
ON SCREEN TEXT: Empowering
A logo and text appear.
ON SCREEN TEXT: UnitedHealthcare®
The screen fades to black.