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about all it takes

Our Mission

All It Takes is a non-profit organization that equips youth and those who serve them with essential emotional intelligence skills to successfully navigate their lives and support their communities.


Our work cultivates safer schools and communities through experiential social-emotional learning methodology. We teach young people at critical life stages to practice empathy, compassion, initiative, responsibility, and purpose in order to create sustainable, positive outcomes.

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Our Approach to
Social Emotional Learning

Step into any conversation about education in the US, and you'll feel the tension thick in the air. Parents want what's best for their kids, teachers are stretched thin trying to meet every student's needs, administrators balance endless intrapersonal puzzles, and students? They're just trying to find their way through it all. Into this mix, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has gained unprecedented momentum—though not without its share of controversy. But here's the thing: when we peel back the layers of debate, SEL emerges as a powerful tool for building resilience, a quality undeniably beneficial for every young person. Let's unpack the divide and see why, despite the controversies, SEL might just be the bridge we've all been looking for.

The Divide Up Close

Talk SEL, and you'll find the room splits quickly. Some see it as a distraction from "real" learning or, worse, a veiled attempt at shaping personal values. It's a heated topic, with passionate voices on all sides. But at the heart of the debate is a simple misunderstanding of what SEL really aims to do. It's not about sidelining academic goals or pushing an agenda. It's about equipping kids with the emotional toolkit they need to thrive both in and out of the classroom.

SEL Done Right VS SEL Done Wrong

SEL, when done correctly, isn't about shielding students from harsh realities or creating safe, soft spaces where they feel no trepidation. Far from it—it's about students feeling they can express their authentic selves in the face of discomfort  because they trust in their community to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Unfortunately, SEL's implementation has been uneven across the board. In some instances, it's been reduced to a series of worksheets—a check-the-box activity that skims the surface but fails to penetrate the depths of genuine emotional and social learning. This approach misses the mark. Social Emotional Literacy must be modeled by the adults in our students lives in order for them to learn it. 

The Three E's of Effective SEL: 

  1. Experiential: SEL thrives on direct experiences. It's about learning through doing, whether that's through hands on activities, group sharing, or real-world problem solving. This hands-on approach helps students internalize SEL principles, making them a natural part of the decision-making process.

  2. Embedded: SEL can't stand apart from the academic curriculum; it must be woven into it in the appropriate places. From literature discussions that explore characters' emotional journeys to science projects that require teamwork and negotiation, SEL is most effective when it's not just seen or heard, but experienced.

  3. Expected: Finally, the true efficacy of SEL hinges on its integration into the fabric of school culture, where accountability to standards are paramount. From the manner in which conflicts are navigated on the playground to the behavioral expectations upheld throughout the school day, SEL must be synonymous with a culture of accountability. It's about ensuring that students understand the importance of their actions and the natural consequences that follow. When students anticipate that they will be held to a consistent standard of behavior—a standard that is fair, understood, and aligned with SEL principles—SEL transcends the realm of theory and becomes a tangible, influential force in their daily lives. This expectation of accountability doesn't just prepare students to meet academic challenges; it equips them with the moral compass to navigate the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the wider world with integrity and resilience.

Why SEL Matters

Imagine a classroom where students can navigate their emotions, empathize with others, and tackle challenges with resilience. That's SEL in action. It's about teaching kids how to manage feelings, set goals, make decisions, and get along with others. And here's the kicker: these skills don't just make happier, more well-adjusted kids; they lay the groundwork for academic success too.

  1. Emotional Well-being: SEL teaches kids to understand and manage their emotions. This means less time lost to outbursts or anxiety and more time focused on learning.

  2. Empathy and Understanding: By fostering empathy, SEL helps create a more inclusive and supportive classroom environment, where every student feels valued and understood.

  3. Resilience: This is the big one. Life throws curveballs, and SEL equips students to catch them. Resilient kids can face setbacks, learn from them, and bounce back stronger.

Building Bridges

So, how do we bridge the divide? It starts with a conversation—a real, honest dialogue about what SEL is and isn't. It's about showing, not just telling, how these skills underpin academic success and personal well-being.

  1. Transparency and Education: Demystifying SEL for parents and educators alike can dispel fears and build trust. Workshops, open days, and clear communication can all play a part.

  2. Inclusivity in Implementation: SEL should reflect and respect the diversity of the student body, ensuring that it's relevant and accessible to all.

  3. Evidence-Based Advocacy: Sharing success stories and data that highlight SEL's positive impact on both academic results and personal development can turn skeptics into believers.

Yes, the education landscape is fraught with differing opinions and priorities. And yes, SEL has become a lightning rod for controversy. But strip away the misunderstandings, and you'll find at its heart, SEL is something we can all get behind: a commitment to raising resilient, empathetic, and well-rounded individuals. By focusing on what unites us—the shared goal of empowering our children to succeed in life—we can begin to bridge the divides and move forward together. It's not just about finding common ground; it's about creating it, one brave conversation at a time. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

At All It Takes, our mission is to promote well-being and social emotional wellness for ALL youth and ALL of those who serve them. We strive to provide the opportunity and the tools for them to empower themselves through accountable action, resilience, and positive decision making.

We know that diverse representation within our organization and programming is vital to this mission. Diversity is a multi-faceted construct, and each identity brings with it a lived experience that has unique insights to offer. When we speak of diversity, we acknowledge the tapestry of race, origin, socio-economic status, religion, sexual orientation, educational experience, physical and mental capabilities, gender identification, work and career choices, and more. All It Takes knows that breaking down social and emotional barriers begins with the understanding that no matter how different we may perceive each other to be, we can always find common ground in how our lived experiences make us feel. As such, exposure to diversity is a core tenant of our flagship Legacy Summit and many of our other programs, providing the opportunity for authentic understanding and appreciation for differences between people.


Further, we believe that by acting with compassion and transparency, defending equity, and using authentic connections, we can collaborate towards social solutions to systemic flaws and be a part of the path towards a more just and equitable society.

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