As United Stand immersed itself in schools, it embraced the role of building diverse, multi-cultural healing communities of professionals and parents who stood together to foster the healthy development of children and adolescents. United Stand committed its energy and resources to:
The high stress levels of the children of Chicago have prompted United Stand to become innovative in its approaches to helping children and adolescents learn stress-reduction and self-care strategies. United Stand has designed after school prevention programs that tap into the creative arts and serve to reduce stress, reinforce learning, and develop special interests and talents. These have included programs such as art expression, dance movement, theater, yoga, and special-focus groups such as Bullying Prevention and Strong Girls and Boys.
United Stand's afterschool programs have also targeted needs that have been expressed by parents themselves. For example, Parent Support Groups, in both English and Spanish, explore the building of positive communication and relationships with children and adolescents, the management of challenging behavior, as well as special areas of concern posed by participants.
During the 2002-03 school year, United Stand conducted a year-long environmental scan study in 272 Chicago Elementary and Secondary Catholic Schools to gather concrete data regarding the learning abilities and needs of the children of the system. The study clearly confirmed that the Catholic Schools had become the home to significant numbers of children with diverse learning styles and needs, including giftedness. Principals and parents were interviewed to determine services they hoped for to support them in working more effectively with children.
Three of the most frequently cited were:
In the Spring of 2004, United Stand and the Office of Catholic Schools collaboratively opened the first Archdiocesan Center for Inclusive Education at Maria High School. The mission of the Centers today is to provide services to support students' success in the Catholic Schools. Services now include diagnostic testing; individual, group, and family counseling; workshops,training, and consultation for teachers and families; and computer-based cognitive/neurofeedback training to support the development of attention, visual-motor, and memory skills.
Currently there are three Centers for Inclusive Education locations:
Over the past 25 years, United Stand has evolved into a highly competitive training site for university students who are pursuing Masters and Doctoral degrees in clinical psychology and related areas. Every year United Stand receives hundreds of applications for a training position in assessment, counseling, and/or integrated services from university students competing for an opportunity to become a part of United Stand's mission to make living and learning a more positive experience for children, adolescents, and families.
Students who join United Stand's teams participate in a range of learning activities beyond those required by their universities. Possibilities include the development of prevention, afterschool, or other programs; the creation of professional development workshops, training sessions, and consultation for principals and teachers; the participation in team responses to school and community crises; and the facilitation of support groups and informational sessions for parents and families.