Whether it is loss of a parent through death or divorce, bullying, alcoholism or substance abuse in the home, mental illness in a parent or sibling, growing up with domestic violence or neglect, having a parent in jail, or emotional, physical or sexual abuse, 75% of us experience some significant adversity by age 20. In this class, the author of Supernormal takes students into the secret world of “family heroes,” or those to soar to unexpected heights after childhood adversity. Together, we will get to know everyday superheroes, or those who have made a life out of dodging bullets and leaping over buildings even as they hide in plain sight as doctors, entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, activists, parents and students. Students will learn how early chronic stress places even the strongest among us at risk for physical and mental health problems in adulthood, and they will find out how some individuals fare well. Throughout the course, risk and resilience are viewed as developmental, cumulative variables that come from many sources and that build up over time. Students will be asked to identify well-known supernormals around the globe and to interpret their stories in the context of what we have learned.
Note: This class is delivered when lunch is served.
Field WorkCountry: Hawaii, United States
Date: January 12, 2020
Our class will visit Kahumana, an organic, inclusive and productive farm-based community providing services to homeless families, people with disabilities and youth since 1974. Guided by its mission of "building healthy communities by cultivating healthy people," and by its core values of mindfulness, empathy and working together, Kahumana offers transitional housing to those in need, teaches job and life skills training to disadvantaged populations, and provides 2000 meals a day to schools. This experience is designed to highlight how the community collective contributes to resilience rather than seeing resilience as something that resides solely within the individual.
1. Find out how culture intersects with risk and resilience
2. Learn about how strengths in the community foster resilience in the individual
3. Consider how a “youth food garden” fosters sustainable economic development and sustainable resilience