top of page

partner up

During a meeting, students team up with a partner. Encourage students to partner with someone who they don’t know well and who isn’t in their grade. Once everyone has a partner, teams should try to find similarities in their situations that go beyond just having divorced parents. After 10-15 minutes, partners should rotate and repeat the activity with someone new. You can repeat this for 3-4 rounds, depending on the time and number of members in attendance.

The point of this exercise is to get to know one member of the group more deeply. Often, people feel uncomfortable sharing intimate details of their lives in larger group settings, and speaking one-on-one encourages a more open, honest conversation. This provides members with the opportunity to speak about their home life in more detail for a longer period of time.

icE breakers

Bring ingredients to school for everyone in the club to make a banana split (bananas, three ice cream flavors, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, cherries, etc.). Lay out all of the ingredients on a table so members can make their own banana splits! Sit in a circle and discuss fun topics that encourage members to share something about themselves. Some lighter questions you might want to ask are: What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Who is your favorite cartoon character? Do you have a pet? Once the conversation is flowing and people are warming up, you can begin asking some deeper questions like: Why did you join this club? What’s something you are hoping to get out of this club?

The goal of this activity is to get to know the other members of the club and understand why they decided to join; it will help you build the foundation of trust and support that is necessary for a successful affinity group. This activity should take place at the beginning of the school year (and/or within the first few meetings of the club).

not just a normal meeting

Watch an informational video at the beginning of a meeting (choose a video from the list provided or find one that you think will spark a conversation) and then encourage members to share their thoughts and feelings about the video. You can kick off the discussion with a few prepared questions related to the video.

Starting a meeting with an informational and entertaining video is a great way to mix things up! The goal is to keep members engaged and encourage them to keep sharing. This exercise will form greater bonds with the group and encourage trust, as well as being fun and refreshing!

tips, tricks & tools

Make use of the white board! Ask each member to grab a dry-erase marker and write out actions, tips, and tricks that have helped them deal with situations at home. These can range from mental health reminders such as, “Remember to breathe” to logistical tips for students traveling between two houses such as, “Keep the same face wash at both houses –– one less thing you have to remember!” Try to keep the writing short and concise. Once everyone has shared a tip, have a conversation about the advice on the board. You can even ask members to share which tip they are going to try at home that week and ask them to report back! At the end of the meeting, take a picture of the whiteboard and distribute it to the group.

A few weeks into club meetings is a great time for members to offer each other tips, tricks, and tools for managing home life with divorced parents. This exercise offers members a guide for things to try at home. You can follow up with members during the next meeting (or a few meetings later) to see which tips they tried and whether the suggestions made a difference in their lives.

feelings in a bag

Every member writes down a feeling they’ve been experiencing on a piece of paper. Some suggestions include sadness, growth, frustration, balance, resentment, fear, gratitude, and stress. Members fold their papers and drop them in a bag. The leader of the group mixes the bag and then pulls out each feeling one at a time. The group discusses each feeling and members are encouraged to describe a time they have experienced a similar feeling.

The anonymity of this exercise allows members to feel comfortable expressing what they are really feeling without judgement from others. Kids going through challenging circumstances at home can experience many mixed emotions, and it’s important to get those feelings on the table for discussion without putting individual members on the spot. Often, knowing that others have had similar feelings can be the start of the healing process.

encouraging change

Ask each member to write down one policy change that they think would make the school environment more inclusive for students with divorced parents. For example, if your school only allows one parent-teacher conference per student, it can lead to a student feeling stuck in the middle of adult issues at a time when the focus should be on their success at school!  Go around the table and ask each member to share the change they would like to see. Encourage discussion around each suggestion. (You may hear the same suggestion come up multiple times!) Once you’ve reviewed the suggested policy changes, decide on the most important issues to address with the school administration.

Change is inevitable! Often, school administrations do not even realize that their policies are exclusive towards students with divorced parents. It’s time to make them aware and hopefully you will see policy change!  Many schools have requirements for how to go about requesting policy change, so make sure you go through the appropriate channels and protocols.

leader of the week

For the second half of a meeting, one member is asked to lead a discussion on a topic of their choice. If they are open to it, they can bring up an issue they are having at home and then ask members for advice on how to deal with their specific situation.

Giving the floor to a different leader is a great way to have the whole group focus on one member’s issue and tackle it together as a team. Asking advice from others encourages a well-thought-out brainstorm session that not only often leads to amazing results, but also brings the group closer together and encourages greater confidence.


bottom of page