The GIFT Program

Get Inspiration From Teachers!

A powerful seminar for middle school teachers designed to build school community.


The Challenge:

Since Sandy Hook, schools across America have experienced over 290 instances of in-school violence involving weapons predicated by alienated youth. In explaining the potential root causes of “alienation,” social scientists most frequently point to the following socio-cultural phenomena:

• Popular cultural mediums, such as violent film, television and video games;

• Social media, such as Facebook, Instagram and Texting employed to taunt, bully and/or marginalize;

• Broken homes, in which parents might be absent, divorced or abusive; and

• Mental illness, such as depression, bipolar and other mood disorders.

Given that hard research shows that peer-to-peer bullying peaks in the sixth grade (and is still in force in the seventh and eighth), and that most in-school violence involving weapons is predicated by high-school-age youth, middle school teachers could play a unique and critical role in increasing the likelihood that our nation’s youth are seen, heard, engaged and connected.


The Solution:

The GIFT Program—Get Inspiration From Teachers!

In a half-day seminar, The GIFT Program trains middle school teachers to conduct a 90-minute seminar aimed at creating a safe environment in which students can share deeply about their gifts, their hopes and dreams, and their challenges.

Both the seminar for teachers and the 90-minute seminar for students are organized around the use of poetry—a Language Arts subject part of all middle-school curricula. In the training, teachers both experience the seminar and learn the program’s follow-up exercises, as well as have an opportunity to process everything they’ve learned. At least one critical by-product of this professional day is the teambuilding effect among your participating staff!

At the day’s conclusion, teachers receive a Get Inspiration From Teachers! t-shirt and bumper sticker, a volume of poetry for use in the classroom, and a certificate of completion.

The critical objectives of The GIFT Program are to see and hear all students, engage them in a meaningful way, provide a forum for self-expression, and make them feel genuinely connected to the school community.

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One of the pieces of performance poetry used in The GIFT Program.

Our lead staff

Steven H. Biondolillo

Steve Biondolillo bio image

Steven H. Biondolillo is the founder and president of Biondolillo Associates. Recognized for coining the term “signature event,” Biondolillo is the nation’s leading developer of branded special-event fundraising programs.