It is the end of 2019 and I just completed my last assembly for this calendar year.  I met thousands of kids this year across more than 30 states.  As I traveled it became more and more evident to me that kids are the same everywhere.  Truly they are.  I have said this before and I will say it again; kids are the same.  They all need the same things mentally and emotionally.  They need connection.  My talks are about connection and inclusion as you can see here on my Speaking Page.  What they need even more than friends is trusted adults in the building to go to when they are struggling.  Students need to learn coping skills more than anything.  I hope that your staff is getting some mental health training because they will need it.  We are starting to see some changes within the education system which is good, very good.  Students cannot focus on academics if they are struggling on the inside.  For many kids, as you know, the safest 8 hours of their day is when they are in school.  Thank you for devoting your time and life to working with our youth.  They need you.  Now more than ever. They need you.  Become the best listener that you possibly can.  If you can do that you will have a profound impact on someone’s life.  We can all be better listeners everyday.