Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF)-

One local school is shaping the future of our youth. But it may not be in the way you think, as the school isn’t just helping kids academically, but also helping them learn life skills.

They call it social emotional learning.

It’s only just the very beginning of the program. Bridge Street Middle School started it this year and says it’s already seeing a difference in their kids.

Kids at Bridge Street middle school aren’t facing life all by themselves. But with the help of their teachers, or mentors, as they like to go by.

“We’re not just focusing on academics, but we’re focusing on them as a person, as a human being. What skills do you need, and how can we help you be successful?”

Principal Jessica Broski-Burch

It’s all part of their social emotional learning. But, in short, they call it “Street Time.”

“Overall, I think that students have been very receptive to the street time. When they have that space in that time and that adult that they can open up to, it’s been really great.”

school counselor Brittany Rose

Not a day goes by that Bridge Street Middle School skips out on street time. It’s about a half an hour every day.

There’s a range of life skills they talk about, from building resilience to communicating with adults and peers — or even learning about fitting in.

“Those soft skills that help us get through life aren’t always focused on the reading, writing, arithmetic.”

Principal Jessica Broski-Burch

Diversity is also a focus of street time.

With a program like this, it’s turning the lives of our youth around, not just in middle school, but in high school and beyond.

“A program like this shows you that your local school systems has a commitment to turning your children into better human beings, better citizens in the society for your community and your whole country, and that’s starting with schools like Bridge Street.”

Ron Scott Jr., Cultural Diversity and Community Outreach Director at YWCA, Wheeling