A High School Student Blossoms: “I have been a lot happier than when anxiety was hovering over my head”

20 "doses" of independence made him ready to take on the world.

It was three years ago that Long Island 7th grade teacher Jodi Maurici contacted Let Grow to say: “My students are the most anxious I’ve ever seen in all my years of teaching. I am going to give them The Let Grow Project.”

The Project is simple: Students get the assignment, “Go home and do something new, on your own, without your parents.” Our materials are free and include a list of dozens of things the kids all the way from Kindergarten through 8th grade might want to try on their own: walk to school, run an errand, make dinner, pet sit…. Jodi and her students brainstormed tons more.

Teacher Jodi Maurici

Below, you can watch a 2-minute video of her students describing their surprise at how much The Project changed them.

And Jodi just sent us an update: “Sometimes, it takes an email like the one I am pasting below, to realize how successful this program is.  This email is from one of the first students I put through The Project.”

Note that Jodi’s class did The Let Grow Project 20 times over the course of the year, which means students had a whole lot of time to try new things, see how much they could handle, reflect on this, and do some more.

The letter:

Hi, Mrs. Maurici I hope this email finds you well and happy after our first day of school. I thought I would give you a little bit of insight into the person I am growing up to be right now partially thanks to the program you started with us.

I feel like since the last time we talked about 2 years ago I have become a much more mature person who excepts [sic] responsibilities. I have been a lot happier in general than I used to be when I think things like depression and anxiety were still hovering over my head. I feel like I have become much much closer to being a mature adult and my parents are super proud of the person I am becoming.

When it comes to sports I still remember that day I was stressing in your room over my tennis tryouts, and now I am the top singles player on boys varsity and made it to divisions last year. I can’t wait to hear back from you on how you are doing! Get back to me when you can.

It is beyond amazing to think that a great teacher and a simple, free idea — using independence as a vitamin that helps kids grow — can be so transformative.

Educators and counselors, you can download The Let Grow Project here. Parents, if you’d like an “at-home” version of The Project, The Let Grow Independence Kit is here.

Here’s to a transformative year of growth all around.