Published on January 31, 2021 at 1:24 pm.
Interview by Jan Osborn. Photos courtesy of The Wezmore Project.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in global social and economic disruption and led to the postponement or cancellation of events during 2020. Many nonprofits have been partially or completely closed during this time, having to refocus on keeping their organization open by restructuring to meet the needs of the pandemic. This was no exception for The Wezmore Project. Founder Eddie Coker said, “We pivoted because we had no choice! COVID stopped live concerts in their tracks.” But that didn’t prevent Coker from moving forward. He says, “we were going to do this work anyway. It was just expedited by the universe! HURRY! Best get it done or down in flames! Life has a way of helping!”
The Wezmore Project kicked off the new year by releasing The Wezmore Basics Program: a free, semester-long series of quick videos that offer (K-2) students, teachers, and families a taste of the benefits of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Each video is under five minutes— just long enough to deliver a succinct SEL message in the form of a “brain break” while incorporating a positive message about the self. The best part about the Basics Program is that it doesn’t require any extra planning for teachers and can be implemented in the physical or virtual classroom. The series incorporates the entire cast of Eddie Coker characters, from the hippie Wilson Hackett to Southerner Principal Tuckentight, which allows children to connect with the message more easily.
The goal is both to normalize the conversation around emotional wholeness and to equip young people with the vocabulary and skills to identify and process their feelings in healthy ways. By actually teaching students mindfulness principles and practices within the Casel standards of Social & Emotional Learning, the effect of the Basics Program can be felt long after the semester is over. In addition to feeling like a happier, healthier human, participants in the program will have practiced developing higher levels of self-reliance, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
The 15-week semester is divided into five parts, allowing for two videos per week. In consecutive order, the series will teach students “How To Be The Happy One.” This series addresses friends, family, emotions, and the self to help young people learn how to better handle and understand their experiences in the world.
To sign up for the free series, click here to input your email address to receive the program and updates as they become available.