Resilience curriculum for high school students

A "wellness vaccine" that teaches high school freshmen how to be resilient so they can cope with stressors in their lives.

Photo of Christopher Harjadi
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Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth


Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Idea (hoping to get started in the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

I am trying to solve the problem of high school stress. I live in a high stress region of the Bay Area, and many of my fellow high-school peers are interested and so worked up to attend these elite universities (with Stanford and Berkeley being so close) that they feel a great deal of stress and anxiety, reducing their quality of well-being and seeking ineffective coping mechanisms, like ranting about a bad grade instead of talking to the teacher

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I aim to create a series of 1 hour lectures presented during the 1st week of high school in History classes, as the first week of high school is generally the least busy and usually when teachers have less work to do. This will be followed up by a few intermittent checks every month to make sure that the freshmen are making sure that they are doing the interventions that they are doing. The curriculum is full of interactive games, lectures, and other activities to make it interesting for high school students. I also plan to pilot it in a 9th grade class at a local high school. By teaching freshmen scientifically proven coping strategies that aim to reduce stress and increase well-being, they will be more inclined to use these coping strategies when times get tough.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

I lived (and am still living) in California's Silicon Valley, home of unicorn startups and large tech companies. I noticed a lack of scientifically proven stress reducing strategies at my high school, mostly limited to psychological counseling referrals and food and therapy dogs around and during finals week. In addition, I noticed many of my friends were piling on 3-4 AP's sophomore year and aiming for universities like Stanford without actually having a passion for those subjects. In addition, high school suicides at my school and at Gunn in nearby Palo Alto, CA, also occurred as well.

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

When a group gets involved with my project, I have shared it with them and told them what needs to get done. Currently, I'm looking for a pilot where I can test my curriculum on to test it's effectiveness.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

There is no preventative stress and wellness curriculum on the market that helps persuade and guide students to develop their passions (which leads to higher overall happiness), as well as teach high school students the importance of grit and growth mindset in a single week.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

I plan to make a difference by empowering my peers to really introspect and find what makes them feel good and contribute to a higher goal or purpose, as well as reduce the perceived stress levels of my high school peers!

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

I have partnered with Dr. Alex Korb and Dr. Shashank Joshi in piloting this curriculum in local Bay Area high schools, as well as checking for how scientifically valid the research in the curriculum is.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Program Design

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Disability community
  • LGBTQ community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • T-Mobile page or contact
  • Other

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?


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Photo of Ysa Moran

This idea is great and could do amazing thing with just a bit more detail! Best of luck with your project and I am sure you will accomplish great things!

Photo of Future King

This is a really great idea that just needs more polishing! I wish there was more detail about the curriculum. Resiliency is crucial to success, and it's important to embed it in students while they're young so that they'll be ready when challenges arrive. So many people struggle with adversity and the will to keep going when times are tough. This will be a game changer for students if it's done correctly. Good luck with the project! I hope you succeed!

Photo of Mikaela Bauer

I recall the incredible stress and competitive nature of the college application process two years ago at my NJ high school. There was a lot of pressure and students were not always so nice to each other during that trying time. You have identified an important issue - one highlighted by the recent college admission scandal. I applaud your mission! Perhaps you might want to consider continuing your program through the end of senior year, inviting college students who have succeeded and were happy despite being rejected from their dream schools. So many possibilities! Best of luck to you!!