Marlize Adair, Administrative Coordinator

Frameworks’ 8th Annual Head and Heart Awards Luncheon was a success! Not only did we raise $222,004.21, but we sold out the venue. Most importantly, we were able to continue to bring awareness to the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) in our community. We are grateful to have so many passionate supporters and advocates for our mission

With any kind of event there are key takeaways. I am not talking about who did not get dessert or who did not like the salad dressing. I am talking about the essential elements that are the collective keys to success for our organization going forward. Here is what I think were the top three takeaways from the 8th Annual Head and Heart Awards Luncheon:

Takeaway Number 1: Student Perspective of SEL

Two students benefitting from Frameworks’ programming discussed the impact social and emotional learning has had on their lives. For the third year in a row, Zion Crewe-White shared his heartbreaking, yet inspiring story of losing his mother and how SEL instruction has helped him heal and make him a leader at his school. Because Zion was given tools to manage his emotions, he is now able to process any strong feelings he experiences.

“…I’ve got tools to handle anything that comes my way. I know how to recognize when I’m feeling upset – how to stop and breathe before I say or do something I’ll regret.”
– Zion Crewe-White, 8th Grade, Walker Middle Magnet School

Our second student speaker, Joselynn Colon is a Starting Right, Now participant. Joselynn shared her perspective; she did not feel that she had a voice and was unable to listen or empathize with others. Joselynn told the audience that Frameworks broke down SEL skills into a language she could understand. She was finally able to put herself in other people’s shoes, and she felt heard for the first time.

“Starting Right, Now embraced me – providing me with a mentor, help with school, Dale Carnegie training, book, club, poetry classes, mindfulness, and most important for me, social and emotional intelligence skills through Frameworks retreats.” – Joselynn Colon, Frameworks Program Participant

Takeaway Number 2: Building Blocks for Learning

Most people who are familiar with Frameworks are also familiar with the five competencies of SEL: Self-awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making. But, how do we connect that to other skills that are necessary for learning? Interim Executive Director, Shea Quraishi shared that in order to be proactive we need to give kids the tools they need to express their emotions, empathize with others, and problem-solve.

To put the SEL Competencies in perspective we can look at the Building Blocks for Learning from Turnaround for Students. These building blocks give you a wider lens to view social and emotional learning at a more comprehensive level. These building blocks include: School Readiness and Healthy Development, which are foundational social and emotional elements. These elements must be built before a student can develop Mindsets for Self and School, Perseverance, and finally, Independence and Sustainability. These building blocks show us that SEL is not a quick fix – it is a long-term investment!

Takeaway Number 3: The Gift of Failure

Everybody, at some point in their lives, will experience failure. This year, our keynote speaker, Jessica Lahey shared how children benefit from failure. In her book The Gift of Failure: How The Best Parents Learn To Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, Jessica focuses on the critical school years when parents should let their children experience inevitable disappointment and frustration.

“Let them feel the pain and inconvenience of their mistakes, and then support them in their efforts to rework the bugs. A few missed lunches or zero on the homework assignment she left of the kitchen counter will reinforce these skills better than your lectures or nagging ever will. Every intervention or rescue is a lesson lost.” – Jessica Lahey


Social and emotional learning enhances a child’s ability to improve their attitudes, skills, and behaviors. It enhances their abilities to interact positively with others while accelerating their development and academic achievement. To learn more about the programs that help students like Zion and Joselynn please visit our programs page.