One Trusted Adult’s Foundational Principles

One Trusted Adult’s Foundational Principles

At One Trusted Adult, we are on a mission to ensure that every young person on the planet has at least one accessible, boundaried, and caring trusted adult at home and at school. Based on extensive research, experience, and school partnerships, we have developed programs for adults and youth that build capacity and opportunities for healthy and appropriate connections.

Our programs and resources are built on five important principles:

1. Ensuring that every young person has many adults they can trust is an upstream strategy we can all invest in.

Research shows that an investment in relationships is a proven best practice in the prevention of our biggest fears for youth, as well as a strategy for increasing students’ availability for learning—and it is something we can all do.

2. Trust cannot be achieved without an understanding of, and adherence to, boundaries.

Boundaries are crucial for the protection of youth and the protection of the adults who support youth. OTA’s trainings and materials help school adults to be the trusted adults students need, within the scope of their role, avoiding boundary blurs such as playing the role of parent or makeshift mental health professional.

3. Connection occurs when young people encounter healthy opportunities to get their needs met.

Our training and resources provide ideas and strategies to increase opportunities for young people to get their needs met (universal youth needs).

4. Adults can only go 50 percent of the way in a relationship; youth must be taught, encouraged, and given the opportunity to go the other 50 percent of the way.

Our mission is two-sided: we must train adults to be accessible, boundaried, and caring and we must teach students what trusted adults are and aren’t, and encourage them to seek relationships with trusted adults.

5. Impactful adult-to-youth interactions center on presence, play, and possibility.

Through our research, we have found that we best set ourselves up for connection with young people when we include presence (a feeling that one is fully focused on the moment), play (collaborative or competitive engagement), and possibility (forward-focused skill building and planning).

These principles have guided the development of our programs and resources and sharpened our focus on increasing school connectedness and building community, ensuring that together we support the optimal development of youth and sustainable practices of adults. A focus on connection, trust, and boundaries is key to preventing our biggest worries and promoting our
greatest hopes.

To find out what these principles look like in practice, check out our recent webinar.

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