How We Heal

Moving Ahead In Challenging Times

The Healthy NewsWorks theme for the 2021-22 school year has been “How We Heal: Moving Ahead in Challenging Times.” In keeping with that theme, our student reporters produced a film called “How We Heal,” featuring student interviews with health and community leaders. We also published our 11th book, How We Heal: Leading Healthy Change In Our Communities 2022.

On this page, you will find the book and several student-led interview videos to use in your classroom. Have your students try some of the accompanying activities to submit for possible publication on our By Kids For Kids blog!

Want to dig deeper? If you’d like your students to watch our full 22-minute film on healing, please contact Healthy NewsWorks program manager Mia Blitstein at mblitstein@healthynewsworks.org.

Read Our Book

How We Heal: Leading Healthy Change in Our Communities 2022 includes interviews with experts and reflections from kids about what they do to heal.

Have your students read about a specific person featured in the book. They should think about what the person does to heal or maintain a healthy outlook. Ask your students to write about how they take care of themselves during a difficult time. What activities do they find enjoyable? What do they do to relax? They can also identify a person who has supported them through a difficult time and describe what they have done to help them.

Meet the people featured in our 2022 book

Videos & Activities

Seeking some kid-friendly material to help address the social and emotional challenges that young people are experiencing today? Our young Healthy NewsWorks journalists spoke with therapists, educators, scientists, artists, athletes, and others to produce a 22-minute film on healing. Check out these trailers for a preview of their work.

You can also watch a portion of the talkback held after the film’s premiere, which features a question-and-answer session with some of our young journalists.

Their film is now available for private screenings—contact Healthy NewsWorks program manager Mia Blitstein at mblitstein@healthynewsworks.org or outreach manager Diane Davis at ddavis@healthynewsworks.org to arrange one at your school.

Staying on top of the game

Jordan Mailata is an offensive tackle with the Philadelphia Eagles. Mr. Mailata talks about physical and mental healing on and off the field.

Classroom Activity

Mr. Mailata has several people who support him on and off the field. Ask students to identify and write a letter to a person who has been supportive to them. Your students should tell this person what they do to support them and thank them for being a part of their lives. 

Researching coronaviruses

Susan Weiss, Ph.D., is a microbiology professor at The University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Weiss discusses her reasons for studying coronaviruses.

Classroom Activity

Dr. Weiss spent years researching and learning about coronaviruses. Even when people questioned why she continued to do the work, she persisted. Ask students to write a reflection on a time when they had to stick with something even when it got frustrating.

Healing through dance

Jermel Johnson was a professional dancer with the Philadelphia Ballet. He shares how dance has helped him heal and express emotions.

Classroom Activity

Mr. Johnson discussed how it was often easier for him to express himself through dance than through words. Ask students to create a list of activities that allow them to release emotion and express their own voices in a creative way. They should pick one of the activities and write about how it makes them feel.

What is talk therapy?

Tami Benton, M.D., is the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Benton talks about some of the reasons that children might seek out therapy and how she helps them.

Classroom Activity

Ask students to reflect on a time when they felt sad or anxious. These are normal reactions to a situation. Have students write about what was going on to make them experience these feelings and what they did when they felt this way.

Dealing with stress

Stress is something we all experience in different ways. In this interview, you’ll hear from Pierre Chanoine, M.D., a pediatrician who practices in Abington, Pa.

Classroom Activity

After watching the video with Dr. Chanoine, ask students to think about the daily strategies that they can implement to deal with stress. Have students write about a stressful time in their life and the strategies and people that supported them through it.

What is healing?

Sandra Bloom, M.D., is an associate professor at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. She shares some of the differences between emotional and physical pain and explains how your body can heal from both.

Classroom Activity

After watching the clip of Dr. Bloom’s interview, ask students to think of someone they trust. Explain to students that they will write a letter to that person describing the traits that make them trustworthy.

Healing communities

Vanessa Northington Gamble, M.D., is a professor of medical humanities at The George Washington University. She discusses how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the African American community differently than other communities.

Classroom Activity

Dr. Gamble encourages us to treat everyone with respect and kindness no matter who they are. Ask students to write about a time when they were challenged to do this. How did they handle the situation?

Coping with emotions

Tami Benton, M.D., is the psychiatrist-in-chief at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She speaks about how children can cope with strong emotions.

Classroom Activity

Ask students to create a Public Service Announcement (PSA) that informs others about the importance of self-care as a strategy to deal with stress and anxiety. Identify one self-care action (examples: getting enough sleep; talking to a trusted adult) and write one or two sentences to explain why the activity is healthy. They should include an illustration.

Submit an article

Looking for a spot to publish your students’ work on healing or another health topic? Use our online submission form, and we may post your student’s work on our student blog. Each submission requires a valid email address. If you would like to submit a batch of reflections, please reach out to program manager Mia Blitstein at mblitstein@healthynewsworks.org.

Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.

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