The Michael Phelps Foundation (MPF) and Panasonic Corporation of North America (Panasonic) announced the expansion of the IM Program offering to Boys & Girls Clubs of America through the organization’s commitment of more than $100,000 in grants to provide social-emotional curricula as children return to clubhouses across the nation.

In support of Mental Health Awareness Month (May) and increasing resources for mental health programming, MPF will provide Boys & Girls Clubs of America with the IM program’s social-emotional curriculum – IM Healthy – through a grant for clubs with returning members. The lesson plans, created in partnership with Nemours, utilizes evidence-based practices and principles to build basic emotional skills that every child needs.

“IM Healthy is a simple and easy toolkit for teaching the emotional skills that help kids to do well. And in challenging times, kids need these skills even more,” says D’Arcy Lyness, Ph.D., child and adolescent psychologist and behavioral health editor for Nemours “The lessons teach kids to know and name their feelings, be confident, notice good things, build grit and perseverance, and handle difficult feelings like nervousness or sadness. These are basic skills that every kid needs – now and as they grow.”

According to Lyness, children are more likely to have experienced feelings of anxiety and depression because of the isolation and disruption associated with the coronavirus. In addition to the IM Healthy curricula, Dr. Lyness suggests parents incorporate these simple steps at home to help their kids build emotional skills:

  • Ask your kids to tell you about a few of the best moments of their day.
  • When your child shares good news, listen with your full attention and give a positive comment.
  • When your child is upset, encourage her to say what’s wrong. Listen and understand first – then be soothing to help her calm down.

“We appreciate the commitment and support of Michael and his Foundation as the IM program provides Boys & Girls Clubs with a life skills curriculum that is valuable and easy to implement,” says Frank Sanchez, Vice President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “During these especially tough times, we are concerned about our kids’ emotional wellness and this added social-emotional learning support will be very beneficial as our clubhouses begin to re-open.”

“I know how challenging times can really impact the mental health of adults, but children are affected by it too and we want to provide them with support to help them understand what they may be experiencing,” said Phelps, founder and board president. “Good mental health is just as important as good physical health and the IM program provides social, emotional, wellness and goal setting lessons that they can utilize as they re-enter the comforts of their clubhouses. While the summer months are approaching and we are all eager for life to return to normal, we want to remind children and adults of the importance of mental health and water safety.”

To help reach the goal of 100 Boys & Girls Clubs, MPF has partnered with technology company Panasonic to create better opportunities throughout local communities. Phelps and MPF are part of Team Panasonic, which embraces the spirit of contributing to society through purposeful action and innovation.

“The emotional and social development of children influences not just their happiness but what they can accomplish,” said Lauren Sallata, CMO of Panasonic Corporation of North America. “We are pleased to support the Michael Phelps Foundation in bringing IM Healthy to children across the country. Panasonic believes passion drives progress and has long invested in programs and institutions that support the development of students and youth and tomorrow’s workforce. Together, Team Panasonic aims to inspire today’s youth to dream big and to work hard to make those dreams come true.”

MPF launched IM in 2010 to teach children and young adults important life skills including water safety, physical and mental fitness, nutrition, and goal setting.

Photo courtesy MPF