In January of 2023, the Steelcase Foundation awarded Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids a two-year $50,000 grant to support Tough Stuff, an in-school program to support children’s social and emotional needs as they navigate grief and other life challenges. Through a structured curriculum in a group setting, youth learn to identify and acknowledge their feelings while developing strategies to care for their emotional health. Tough Stuff is developed and facilitated by master’s level mental health professionals and supports students in grades 3 and 5. The philosophy of the program is that children can form a community with each other, and each child, regardless of age, has their own expertise on what it is like to navigate tough stuff.
Tough Stuff will seek to serve 750 students in Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) over the two-year grant period, providing youth with tools to identify and name their feelings, recognize people in their life they can talk to and ways to care for themselves, and acknowledge and normalize grief. We’re excited to partner with Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids as it brings Tough Stuff to classrooms in GRPS to ensure young people have the mental and emotional supports they need to thrive.