Know Thyself™ Mission
Know Thyself™ strives to help urban students become aware of self and others, and better manage behaviors and emotions so that they will be positive contributors to their school and community. Know Thyself™ achieves this via a curriculum that imparts skills in manners, respect, teamwork, conflict resolution, empathy, goal setting, decision-making and arts/culture awareness. From our first group of urban students, in 1996, through current demands for greater expansion, our mission has always been the same.
In urban Milwaukee, teenagers are walking out of high school with a disadvantage that reaches beyond the quality of their school or the color of their skin. Increasingly, children from the city grow up without adult models who impart to them what we call soft skills, such things as a solid handshake, eye contact, the ability to speak publicly, and an awareness of the body and its health.
Without these skills, high school graduates miss scholarship opportunities, internships and chances for a job. But this disadvantage is fixable; and the skills can be taught. We teach them to our students with great success.
No school teaches the things we teach nor should they be expected to. Parents, unfortunately, do so less and less, as well. We at Know Thyself™ are filling that void.
In 1996, I partnered with Ms. Ouida Williams, then a counselor at Jackie Robinson Middle School, to create a curriculum to teach a small group of girls how to better present themselves to others. In those first few years, Ms. Williams and I did everything: from classroom instruction to chaperoning field trips. It was just the two of us, working to make a difference in the lives of some very special children.
Now, almost 20 years later, Know Thyself has grown to such an extent that it would be impossible for the two of us to do it all ourselves. Instead, the Know Thyself curriculum is delivered by a long list of extremely capable teachers, counselors, social workers, paraprofessionals and artists. We are lucky that Milwaukee Public Schools is filled with so many educators who care so deeply about the social and emotional development of Milwaukee’s children.
Two of those exceptional Know Thyself instructors are profiled in our most recent newsletter. Both of them have been with us for a few years, and we consider ourselves fortunate to count them among our facilitators.
As Milwaukee and MPS work to resolve the challenges they face, let us remember the individuals who work hard to make sure Milwaukee’s children have a bright future.
Founder & Creative Director