October 18, 2018

The Allstate Foundation pledges $45 million to help kids build confidence through social and emotional learning

Education alone is not enough to build today's youth into tomorrow's leaders and innovators

Thanks to The Allstate Foundation's specially designed pedestals, 13-year-old Amyah Maze can see herself as a future president. For a limited time, kids of all ages can step up onto these pedestals, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo by Margaret Myers

What does it mean for a child to see herself as the future President of the United States? Or himself as the person who will one day design the program that will end homelessness?

It’s a fact that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. The Allstate Foundation wants to give young people a chance to see themselves as the future innovators they are destined to become, and they want to provide the tools to make sure all kids get that opportunity to thrive.

This week, The Allstate Foundation announced a $45 million commitment to empower millions of youth to build their social and emotional learning skills like resilience, self-awareness and conflict resolution.

“Empowering young people by harnessing their talents and passions will build a better world,” said Allstate Chairman, President and CEO Tom Wilson. “We believe these skills will inspire youth to be leaders and history-makers and achieve their full potential.”

Historically, society has emphasized academic achievement as the key to success, said Vicky Dinges, Allstate’s senior vice president of corporate relations. Of course no one can deny the importance of an education, she stressed, but education alone is not enough.

“There’s overwhelming evidence that demonstrates social and emotional learning skills are equally essential for students to thrive in school, in their careers, and in life,” she said. “Gaining skills like confidence, perseverance, self-awareness, and grit—all these skills have a positive impact not only on academic performance and standardized test scores, but also on attendance rates and social relationships and the motivation to learn and avoid things like drugs and violence.”

Only a small percentage of U.S. schools are exposed to programs that help build social and emotional learning skills. The Allstate Foundation is committed to leading efforts to reach 25 percent of the nation’s youth with quality social and emotional learning programs by 2022.

The programs will be available to parents, teachers, and through the Foundation’s nonprofit partners, including WE Charity and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.

At an event on The National Mall in Washington, D.C., The Allstate Foundation invited young people to start building their confidence by stepping up onto specially designed pedestals with aspirational language printed on them, such as “Future President of the United States,” and “Farmer to End World Hunger.”

Actress and Allstate Foundation Good Starts Young Ambassador Monique Coleman and actor Lonnie Chavis encouraged others to step up onto the pedestals on the National Mall, Wednesday, Oct. 17. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Allstate Foundation Good Starts Young

Allstate Foundation Good Starts Young Ambassador Monique Coleman reminded young people and the adults around them that it’s everyone’s job to help the next generation reach their full potential. “Whether we are a mentor, a parent, an aunt or uncle, a teacher, or community member, each one of us can positively affect the lives of young people.”

Coleman also invited the young star of the hit TV Show This Is Us, 10-year-old Lonnie Chavis, to talk about his own social advocacy and why working with organizations like The Allstate Foundation can help kids who want to get involved. “They reach out to kids every day just like me and give them a chance to make a positive impact on our world,” he said.

Visitors to the National Mall can see the special pedestals through this weekend. Kids are encouraged to snap a photo of themselves as the future leaders they hope to become and share it on social media using the hashtag #GoodStartsYoung.

Margaret Myers

Margaret Myers is the editor of The Renewal Project.