Instructors, students make video for PLAAY

Instructors, students make video for PLAAY
July 23
00:00 2015

In above photo: From L-R, Nasir Graham, Kobe Thompson, Jaylon McLean, Anthony Snyder and T’Andre Williams, with Sam Davis (submitted photo).

Special to The Chronicle

After modeling an innovative program at Elementary School Academy during the 2014-15 school year, participants and students in the program recently produced a video, with the help of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

ESA introduced a new tool to stem aggression among its students last fall. The program called “PLAAY” is an acronym that stands for Preventing Long-Term Anger and Aggression in Youth.

It was originated by Dr. Howard Stevenson, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who through his research found that it helps “youths manage their anger at school and home to complete their schooling assignments by using cultural strengths”.

Editing of the video should be complete in the next few weeks.

Copies of it will be sent to executives with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is expected to reach the desk of President Barack Obama.

Sam Davis and Elliot Miley made adaptations to Dr. Stevenson’s model to meet the needs of their students “The students were excited about having the opportunity to participate in a video that will be viewed by the president,” Davis said. “They did a great job, and hopefully this model will be used throughout the country. It was an honor for us to be chosen to do it.”

“PLAAY was introduced to us by Dr. Shawn Ricks, of Winston-Salem State, who is chair of Human Service Studies and a professor in the department of Rehabilitation and Human Services,” Davis said. “When she introduced it to Mr. Miley and myself, we saw the potential of it in helping our students work through their problems. We were already using many of its concepts already, so it was relatively easy to incorporate it into what we were already doing.”

PLAAY helps the students learn to use their communication skills to address their anger.

A key part of PLAAY is helping youths know when they get angry while playing basketball, because sports is a great place to see youths’ emotional strengths and challenges, personality and style.

“Many of our students aren’t properly prepared to deal with anger issues,” Miley said. “We make a sincere effort to give them the coping skills to deal with these issues.”

Staff members also use videos, role-playing and music to teach.

Students are encouraged to identify their feelings and calculate how stressful they are (on a scale from 1 to 10); locate where one’s body feels the stress;communicate through self-talk to a trusted friend or authority figure; breathe and exhale slowly when stressed to relieve the stress; have an authority figure help them continue to play, work, or learn with others.

PLAAY also helps reduce racial and gender stress related to racial and gender conflicts while strengthening individual and family stress management and racial coping assertiveness.

It also designed to improve youth academic achievement and positive parent involvement in school.

Parental involvement is also vital to the program’s success.

The program uses the physical activity of basketball and culturally responsive group therapy to enhance youths’ and their parents’ capacities to challenge racial and gender stereotypes, develop interpersonal and school achievement skills, and build stronger bonds between parents and their children.

Participants in PLAAY are expected to maintain regular attendance, engage in honest dialect, extend mutual respect and consideration, complete assignments on time and, most importantly, have fun.

“This program is totally outside regular school hours and we expect the students to have fun,” Davis said. “Along the way, we hope to give them strategies for managing stress during intense interpersonal situations and become more aware of the anger triggers that are likely to lead to conflict.”

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