Confidence building for primary aged children

The covid pandemic coincided with a steep rise in mental health worries and anxieties among children. Fortunately, a free confidence-building programme for all primary schools, and resources for parents and employers, are now available.

Ellen Shustik, Head of Programmes and External Relations at the Inner Wings foundation spoke to Relocate Global’s Fiona Murchie about the origins and aims of the charity, and how it has already reached over 4,000 children in more than 60 schools in the UK.
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Mentoring and building confidence in children

Speaking at this first webinar in the Autumn 2022 Relocate Global International Education and Schools Fair, dual Canadian-British citizen now living in London Ellen Shustik explained how her international career in politics and democratic support led her to be very interested in mentoring, especially among young girls and women.“This is so interesting in terms of the opportunities available to them,” she says. “It is so important to have that confidence and follow your dreams.“My path has not been straightforward, but certainly I was able to get to where I am because of the confidence that was instilled in me through school, that confidence and resilience, to really go after what I wanted.“At Inner Wings, that’s our raison d’etre: it’s about giving young people and schools those skills on how to be confident, how to be resilient and how to really follow their dreams.”

Finding what makes us unique

The Inner Wings Foundation, which runs the courses, aims to help children aged 6-12 develop a growth mindset and can-do attitude that will help them succeed.Through two – soon to be three – programmes, Finding Your Superpower and Finding Your Voice, the next generation of school leavers will have the skills they need to be active and fulfilled members of society and the workplace in whatever they choose to do.The foundation is the initiative of co-founders Darren Roos, South African-born CEO of global software company IFS, and Melissa Di Donato Roos – an acclaimed American-born British business and technology leader, the first female of SUSE, the world’s largest open source software company, and technology group chair of the 30% Club, which has the goal of achieving a third of women on S&P boards by 2023.IESF_au22_Inner_Wings_intext

Upgrading opportunities early on

“Melissa had this vision of a charitable foundation that would work on confidence building in young children," says Ellen Shustik. "The age range we work with 6-12 acknowledges that confidence drops more significantly among girls when they get to that age 8-14 age range and by 30%, so it’s quite significant.“For Melissa in particular as a very rare female CEO in a male-dominated industry she wanted to see all children but particularly girls have that confidence to study STEM subjects, which are typically seen as ‘for boys’.“I think her own lived experience in working her way up to the top of the industry was done to the confidence and self-belief that she had and the role models around her. For her, it was very important to go in very early and target younger children and give them those skills and tools earlier on and learn about developing a growth mindset and why it is important to detach our value from external circumstances before things get more complicated in those secondary years at school with social media.“Melissa is an incredible inspirational woman who has made it to a leadership level and this is her way of giving back.”For more information on how your school or workplace can access these free confidence-building programmes and help build the next generation of confident leaders one child at a time, visit www.innerwings.orgDiscover a wealth of material on YouTube including a mini-series of short videos on Finding your super powers for parents, children and teachers to access at home. 

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