What does it look like to incorporate character strengths into a school environment? Just ask Barnel and Gloria. Their work in Character Strengths and Strengths Spotting (identifying and celebrating others’ strengths) of their fellow team members at Spectrum 360 is pretty spectacular. 

Each week Barnel and Gloria sit together and discuss how the professionals at Spectrum 360 have used their character strengths to benefit the school community. They make a list and then make a delivery. What are they delivering – you ask? They are delivering just about every positive emotion – love, gratitude, and joy, to name just a few.

Hello from Livingston, New Jersey! 

I’m Gloria, a school counselor working with teens with autism. Our school, Spectrum 360, incorporated Proof Positive’s wellbeing skill, Strengths Spotting, by identifying a student who loves interacting with peers and staff members. Barnel enjoys working with staff on in-house jobs such as making copies, deliveries, and announcements during our school basketball games. 

During our counseling sessions, we started to collaborate on ideas for how he could show kindness and gratitude to his teachers. Each month we pick a department, choose a staff member to highlight and deliver a button representing that staff member’s character strength. 

Barnel lets the educators know they have been “caught in the act of character” and shares with them how their character strength “showed” up, and he then hands over a button that symbolizes that character strength.

Barnel and I discovered everyone became super motivated by this good deed. Everyone gets excited when Barnel makes deliveries, hoping to be next on the list. Walking around the building, you see educators proudly displaying their earned buttons on their lanyards and in their offices. When Proof Positive visited Spectrum360, they saw Barnel handing over character strength buttons to staff, and it was hit. Staff members were elated and grateful to receive the buttons and shared the news with their fellow staff members. 

It is important to learn about character strengths because it showcases the good—it’s contagious, promotes positivity amongst staff and students, and reminds staff members to use their strengths when interacting with each other. When staff and students use their strengths, they feel good about themselves and the lessons they teach, enhancing their wellbeing. 

Barnel’s button deliveries are an incredible example of Strengths Spotting. It is essential to highlight others’ character strengths because it reminds them to have a positive attitude in school, the community, and life. It reminds us that we have our own valuable super strengths. 

When I witnessed Barnel come out of his shell during his deliveries, it brought on proud and positive emotions. I was almost in tears to observe him speak so freely and at ease to discuss his emotions. That was the effect of using Character Strengths. 

Be well, 

Gloria Nelson

This is yet another example of how wellbeing spreads to all. First, Gloria identified Barnel’s strength of interacting with staff and his ability to spread joy, and in turn, Barnel identified strengths in others. What a wonderful demonstration of putting character strengths into practice and championing the strengths of the members of your school community. 

Thank you, Gloria and Barnel! 

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