The Origins of ZCLUB
ZCLUB began with a single question:
“What do young people need to have a successful and personally rewarding life?”
We asked this question of 200 teachers. From their answers eventually came a list of 10 traits and skills divided into two sections of five each. The first five can be referred to as basic or personal skills, and the second five advanced or social skills. And then we asked approximately 150 students, “What kinds of stories do you like to read? And what kinds of shows do you like to watch? Among the most popular answers were, superheroes, magical places, relationships, and big accomplishments.
From these interviews and conversations came a book about friends who meet a league of 10 superheroes, each representing one of the traits or skills, characterized as superpowers. The book, The Lessons of Z, became popular in schools in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
From the book, came The Z Program, which we brought to classrooms. Teachers were amazed that literally within a few minutes, an entire class of 25 to 30 students memorized the 10 ‘superpowers’. And within the Z Program school workshop, the students made plans on how to develop and strengthen positive traits and skills in their life. Possibly for the first time, young people were taking personal responsibility for their own development in a very structured way! It was so gratifying when a teacher said,
“Every child should have access to this material.”
A Teacher Workshop
With more and more teachers wanting the student program, we worked on a teacher workshop program. So, the next step was the design and implementation of The Ten Essential Traits Workshop, in which participating teachers received mandated credits to continue their teaching careers. The workshop was provided through an agency that served 80% of the schools in the state of New Jersey.
The book, The Lessons of Z was adapted to the stage. Plays, productions and talent shows followed. Parents got involved – helping to arrange social events, and the opportunity for their children to be part of a young talent community based on personal achievement and the spirit of helping others. This community grew to what is now known as ZCLUB!