Project Spotlight

RCMA Immokalee School, Florida

Thanks to Red Nose Day supporters, young students in one Florida school are learning mindfulness skills — including yoga and breathing techniques — that give them confidence and help them cope with everything from a stressful test to challenges at home.

“Kids today live in such a changing world. They have a lot on their plates, both at school and at home. So, it’s important that we not only teach them academically but equip them with life skills so they can develop resilience and manage anything that life throws at them.”

That’s how Holly Paulsboe, a teacher and mindfulness coach at RCMA Immokalee Community Academy, a bilingual school in Florida supported by Red Nose Day, describes the importance of the work she does.

RCMA takes a holistic approach that cares for the whole child, including providing resources for families when needed. Red Nose Day helps fund behavioral health care for students across the country such as those at RCMA, through a partnership with UnidosUS, the largest national Latino civil rights advocacy organization in the U.S., and other non-profit partners.

Red Nose Day’s support for students’ social-emotional learning comes at a time when they need it the most — students everywhere are still dealing with challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.In Holly’s school, the preventative support she offers has been a game changer for her students, many of whom are the children of low-income families and migrant farm workers, who might not otherwise have access to such services.

“My students are trying to navigate what it’s like to live in America, while also dealing with tremendous issues at home. Some are taking on the role of an adult to help their younger siblings. Academically, they’re often the first in their family to advance beyond elementary school, let alone even think about college. That’s a lot of pressure for them.”

Holly teaches skills and strategies needed to overcome challenges, giving them the tools they need to thrive. By teaching kids how to better deal with their emotions and the pressures they’re facing, they can also pass those skills along to their families at home.

“We provide explicit mindfulness instruction and lessons in the classroom, including yoga and breathing techniques…skills they can use in the middle of class or a stressful test – tips and strategies they can use every single day.”

Giving Kids a Voice

The most rewarding part of Holly's job is watching the students grow into thriving individuals and citizens.

“At the middle school level, they’re finding out who they are and who they want to become, and at the same time, they are still children. It’s been neat to teach them the skills to have the confidence to adopt a growth mindset and to learn from their mistakes and develop into who we know they can become.”

Holly says it’s incredible to see students change as they grow and gain confidence.

“I think it gives them a voice, especially for the younger students. A lot of the time they don’t have the vocabulary yet, they don’t know how to say what they are thinking or what they are feeling. Now they have the vocabulary to express themselves.”

Your Support Helps Create Healthy Futures

All children have the right to a healthy future. That’s why Red Nose Day supports organizations like RCMA and UnidosUS’ Healthy and Ready for the Future program to address the immediate needs of children living in poverty while fostering long-term change to end the cycle of poverty.“

To the Red Nose Day supporters, know that it truly makes a difference. These programs impact students on the frontline. They help the teachers who are working with these students every single day to be able to have the resources to do their jobs and achieve everything they can,” Holly says.