In 2016, author and national speaker to students and parents, Laura Gallier, began volunteering with Lighthouse for Students. She knew she’d enjoy providing guidance and teaching principles for success to inner-city at-risk high school students in Houston’s most crime-ridden community. What she didn't know was how much the students would teach her.
“Right away," Gallier says, "I discovered the students had so much talent, heart, and a lot to say, no matter the topic. They were also bravely authentic—so much so that many openly confided about their struggles related to self-worth. I witnessed the toll feelings of unworthiness were taking on their mental health, life choices, and quality of life. The students helped me realize that, before they can embrace how to succeed in life, they needed to first know and believe they are worthy of success to begin with. And before we can expect young people to value one another, they must be convinced, in the core of their being, they are valuable themselves.”
This realization became even more pronounced when Gallier observed that countless students in suburban communities face similar battles surrounding matters of personal worth. As she and other concerned parents discussed the dilemma, a proactive solution emerged: Gallier began formulating a mental-emotional wellness and character-building program for students, fittingly named I AM WORTHY.
Seeking field-related expert input, at the start of 2022, Gallier invited an insightful group of family therapists, youth counselors, medical professionals, school principals, and educators—to name a few—to begin collaborating and contributing expertise for an eventual curriculum. In the process, certain universal, affirmation-based truths were identified that, when understood and internalized, produce personal core values proven to form a stable and resilient foundation of mental and emotional wellness and self-worth. Conversely, the absence of these personalized core values results in mental and emotional instability and decline.
Having arrived at a solid list of affirmations, in the Fall of 2022, Gallier and other volunteers began teaching I AM WORTHY to high school students through Lighthouse For Students. After just six weeks of once-a-week lessons conveying the first three affirmations—I am meant to be, I am worthy of love, and I deserve to feel safe at all times—students were invited to complete an anonymous survey. The results far exceeded expectations.
Realizing the need for as many students as possible to benefit from the I AM WORTHY affirmations, Gallier began voluntarily writing scripts for a series of engaging two-minute videos intended for use in the classroom, to be followed by three minutes for students to journal in response to a reflection question, then three more minutes for students to share their conclusions with classmates if they desire. “That’s just eight minutes a day, overseen by teachers but with no prep or extra workload on teachers,” Gallier says. “Teachers have enough on their plates already.”
Knowing repetition is key to learning and internalizing information, Gallier recently set out to create one I AM WORTHY video for every school day—180 videos total—starting with middle school, grades six through eight. Given the urgent nature of the project, the goal became to complete the middle school curriculum in time for schools to implement the program the following school year, in the Fall of 2023.
Research proves that at-home support, when available, is the most beneficial environment for students to learn their worth and values. For this reason, I AM WORTHY offers a turnkey parent-child component, where parents or caregivers can facilitate “worthy moments at home” once a week, reinforcing the affirmations their children are learning at school.
Generation 61 is the non-profit spearheading I AM WORTHY, a parent initiated, expert validated program. Donations are fueling the creation of the video-based curriculum. As funds become available, modules will be developed for high school, early elementary, and older elementary.
Although Houston-area students inspired the creation of I AM WORTHY, Gallier and the consulting experts believe the universal nature of the curriculum’s affirmations transcends demographic variances and is applicable nationwide—in public schools, private schools, alternative schools, juvenile dentition centers, foster care organizations, and home school environments.
“The applications are endless,” Gallier states. “Our goal is to ensure that schools and organizations that cannot afford the I AM WORTHY curriculum and accompanying student journals will still be able to utilize the program. Donations make this possible.”
All interested in joining the cause can view sample I AM WORTHY videos on the homepage and also make donations if desired. Those interested in utilizing the I AM WORTHY curriculum can request more information.
Gallier credits Lighthouse For Students as essential to the inspiration behind I AM WORTHY, as well as the experts who have voluntarily offered a wealth of insight. “Most of all,” she says, “the students are the driving motivation behind this mission. And even we, as adults, can benefit from the I AM WORTHY affirmations. I certainly have.”
Laura Gallier, Program Founder