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Lori Woodley Discusses All It Takes & Teaching Compassionate Leadership to Kids
Last week Planet Experts spoke to Shailene Woodley at the 20th Anniversary Global Green Awards. The Divergent star was honored with the non-profit’s Environmental Leadership Award, which she accepted alongside her fellow honoree, her mother Lori. Together, the two founded All It Takes, a non-profit organization that teaches young people how to lead and “create sustainable, positive change among their peers, family members and society.”
This week, Planet Experts spoke to Lori about empowering the next generation of compassionate, eco-conscious leaders.
Compassion “Is the Ultimate Responsibility We Have”
Having served over 25 years as a school counselor and two decades as a designer and facilitator of youth leadership training camps, Lori Woodley knows her stuff. She has worked with kids throughout her career, which in retrospect makes All It Takes almost inevitable.
Speaking to Planet Experts, Lori said that she and her daughter wanted to do something together, something that carried a multitude of messages. “It needed to encourage everyone to do something they felt passionate about,” with its three main concentrations originally in health awareness, leadership and environmental stewardship.
“The mission is critical because humanity thrives when we are looking after one another and our planet,” she said. “It is the ultimate responsibility we have.”
Though she co-founded the organization with her daughter in 2010, Lori remained in public education for another five years before transitioning to the org full-time. Today, as President and Executive Director of All It Takes, Lori is focusing on increasing its access to more youth in California and beyond.
The ultimate goal of her organization is to motivate young people to become positive actors in their communities. As a school counselor, Lori witnessed firsthand a decline in social responsibility and what she calls “kind action.”
“The statistics for bullying and the bystander effect are rising exponentially,” she said. “The bystander effect currently cites 90 percent of middle school students reporting being a silent bystander. In a country where school violence is growing and youth are dying at the hands of one another, students need the Emotional Intelligence training and confidence building to have empathy and strength to be the solution to rising risk factors.”
Looking to the Future
In accepting one of Global Green’s annual Environmental Leadership Awards, both Lori and Shailene are hopeful for the future. At the ceremony, Shailene said that Thursday’s award was itself a temporary honor but one that could raise awareness of the issues they’re fighting for, “empowering people beyond this one sedentary moment.”
For Lori, “the recognition by Global Green is an honor that we could not be more grateful or proud of. It is powerful recognition that they believe, like we do, that our youth are our future. They are the path of our planet and they have both the intelligence and the heart to be the difference we need. Youth are interested in being stewards, they just need to know how and they need to feel that their actions matter.”
As for the future, Lori is overseeing an exponential growth in their student body. AIT has expanded from serving 240 kids in 2014 to 1,300 kids in 2015 and to an estimated 6,000 kids for the 2016-2017 school year.
“Programs have expanded far beyond camps,” said Lori, “and school districts are knocking on our door. Socio-Emotional work with our youth is critical and AIT has developed an elementary physical education program that serves both physical movement and emotional intelligence needs. This program is a way for AIT to serve hundreds of thousands of youth.”
Over the new few years, added Lori, AIT will increase its reach in California and other states to become a “Best Practice” program “that reduces harmful behaviors and increases social well being across schools and community programs nationwide.”
To learn more about All It Takes, visit their website at http://allittakes.org/.