Program Highlight: Anchored4Life (April 2024) 

Anchored4Life (A4L) is a peer-to-peer club to connect youth while building transition and resiliency skills. The club is dedicated to supporting students, schools, and communities through essential resources, mentorship programs, and impactful outreach initiatives.   

LEARN established an A4L club for elementary school students in 2018 before adding a program for middle school students in 2022. The club is currently offered at LEARN 6, LEARN 10, and LEARN D.C. Tara Sheppard, co-advisor of the club along with Cindy Cary, recently shared some info about A4L at LEARN 6.  

What does Anchored4Life look like at your school (LEARN 6)?

The main idea is to support students through transitions, which is any change or difficult situation a child might be going through. One of the things we do is prepare transition kits, which are drawstring backpacks with different items to help scholars adjust. The kits contain journals, stuffed animals, and they also include a QR code that provides access to different A4L video resources. We have students lead a lot of the work – building relationships and leadership skills. For example, while I handle the divorce or grief kits, since those require more sensitivity, the A4L leaders manage the welcome and moving kits, as well as the deployment and reintegration kits for military families.    

What impact has the club had on your students?

We have a team of about 30 middle school students who are team leaders and meet every week. They are paired or put into small groups and assigned a lower grade classroom, which they visit once or twice a month to teach and get to know younger students. The kids love being leaders and developing those relationships. They take pride in guiding other students, and I love watching them get that confidence boost. These are skills that will transfer to high school and beyond.   

Is there anything else about Anchored4Life that you would like to share with the LEARN community?  

When A4L was first presented to me about five years ago, I noticed that it was developed more with military families in mind. Since that time, it has become much more accessible to any scholar at LEARN who is going through a difficult transition and could use some extra support.   

Learn more about Anchored4Life, which has nearly 500 trained locations worldwide.  


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