This winter, over 650 elementary-age kids in the Inside Out Club (IOC) school program at eighteen schools took part in our Supporting Our Troops lesson. This lesson taught the kids self-awareness and gratitude through a two main activities –


1. IOC volunteers talked with the students about how soldiers that return home can have a hard time handling their emotions. Students learned that everyone has a hard time with their emotions at times and that is normal. The important thing is to use self-awareness to help us recognize when we are mad, sad or frustrated and that we can use mindfulness to help calm those emotions. The kids made mindfulness jars and learned how to use them, then took their jars home to help them calm their own emotions whenever needed.


2. To express their gratitude for all that our soldiers do, students either decorated pillowcases or made long-distance hugs for soldiers. A long-distance hug is two cut-out, paper hands attached by a ribbon with a little sign on it that says, “This long-distance hug is for you from ________. Thank you for keeping America safe.” These hugs and the pillowcases were donated to Operation Support Our Troops, who sent them to soldiers.

About a week ago, we received an email from Master Sergeant West in the United States Air Force that said –

Good morning/afternoon,
I am MSgt West and I just received a care package with some of the
thoughtful work your students put together and sent. I have the hands of Olivia (9 years old from Naperville, IL) and Sophie (8-year-old from Naperville, IL).  They will be here hanging out with me till I leave.  Thank you.

If you are an Inside Out Club parent, please share this note with your child. We’d love for them to see how their kindness and gratitude impacted Master Sergeant West’s life!

About Inside Out Club DuPage

The Inside Out Club DuPage’s mission is to develop kids with character inside and out. The Inside Out Club program teaches kids character skills through connection and engagement in the community. It helps kids practice the character skills they need to thrive in their lives, school, and communities, and later in their careers.

Make Your Own Mindfulness Jar – Check Out Inside Out Club @Home

Inside Out Club DuPage recently launched the @Home program, which is a filterable database of books, videos and projects that you can sort by the 8 key character traits and 6 social causes taught by the Inside Out Club. Check out our mindfulness jar project by clicking here.