ALIVE Builds Resilience in Schools

A New Haven school needed help with a new population of immigrant and refugee children.

ALIVE Counselor Antonietta Delli Carpini reads to a class. Photo Credit: New Haven Independent Contributed Photo

A New Haven elementary and middle school needed help with a new population of immigrant and refugee children. They were from all over the world, including war-torn Middle Eastern and African countries, and South and Central America. They spoke little English and felt cut off from their classmates and teachers. They were also subject to teasing and bullying.

The Foundation for the Arts and Trauma was brought into the school to provide counseling to the children through its ALIVE program. As a result, the school saw significant reductions in the stress levels among the newly arrived students, and the students received no suspensions or major disciplinary actions. The students also reported feeling better and more integrated into the community.

ALIVE was brought to the school by IRIS, the local refugee agency that had helped resettle the families of many of these schoolchildren. The program provides social-emotional therapy and counseling, and had already seen positive results among students who had experienced incarceration. To communicate with the immigrant students, ALIVE already had a bilingual counselor fluent in Spanish and added a Pashto interpreter and an Arabic interpreter to its team.

ALIVE is designed to help students, classrooms and schools become responsive to the effects of negative experiences on the educational mission. Through stress reduction sessions, classroom-based psychoeducation and school-wide early detection and screening, ALIVE aims to create an open conversation about the effects of stress and link the student's lived experiences with curricular material.

The Community Foundation has supported The Foundation for the Arts and Trauma as part of its strategies to make Greater New Haven a welcoming place for immigrants and to support recently incarcerated people returning to the community. It awarded a $120,000 grant to the organization in 2018 to provide preventive, trauma-informed services to middle-school students.

For more information about The Foundation for Arts and Trauma, visit its profile on

Did you know?

Approximately 1 in 8 New Haven residents is foreign-born

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.