Amy Kraus is a former educator with 20 years of experience.
She has embarked on a journey of empowering children and parents through her own business, particularly during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amy noticed that many kids were struggling with issues such as confidence, self-love, and social interaction. Drawing from her own experiences as a child who lacked confidence, Amy empathized with these young individuals.
These issues were prevalent not only in underfunded school districts but also in well-funded ones. Amy’s ability to create a safe and open space for students to share their feelings and experiences made her a valuable resource. During the pandemic, she made the decision to retire from teaching and start her own business with a mission to empower kids and their parents. Although transitioning from teaching to entrepreneurship presented challenges due to her lack of prior business experience, she was confident in her knowledge and research.
Amy observed that even first graders struggled with social interaction and self-esteem issues. Transitioning to fourth grade often marked a significant point where children faced increased challenges in finding their identities and fitting in. The post-COVID era added complexity to these issues, with younger children experiencing difficulties related to social interactions, while older kids had to relearn social skills after transitioning back to in-person classes.
Amy emphasized the importance of teaching children life skills such as decision-making and handling failures. She believed that overprotective parenting could hinder a child’s ability to cope with life’s challenges. Drawing from her personal experience, she explained how she evolved from being a helicopter parent to allowing her own children to “fail forward,” helping them develop resilience.
To address the needs of both kids and parents effectively, Amy conducted extensive research. She stressed the significance of communication and creating an environment where children could learn to embrace effort over perfection. Amy’s mission centered around empowering parents to empower their children, offering resources and guidance to help kids navigate the challenges they face in today’s world.
Amy’s journey extends beyond starting her own business.
She recognized the importance of reaching out to schools beyond her local area and established herself as a speaker, primarily addressing elementary and middle schools through assemblies and keynotes. Her mission was to encourage kids to embrace their true selves and self-love. However, she soon realized that fully incorporating this message within a classroom’s curriculum was challenging.
Stepping out of the classroom allowed Amy to create resources for educators and deliver them directly to schools. This made it easier to convey her message of self-love and empowerment to students. She began locally in St. Louis but quickly expanded to schools in different states, addressing the growing demand for her services. School counselors and administrators recognized the need for programs that empowered kids to love themselves and promote kindness.
Amy introduced the concept of “kindness starts with me,” drawing from her personal struggles with self-confidence and self-love during her younger years. She emphasized the importance of teaching children self-care, self-love, and pursuing their passions. Kindness, according to Amy, needed to begin internally before it could be shared outwardly.
Regarding the idea of mental health days in schools, Amy offered her perspective. While she didn’t have such days during her school years, she believed they could be valuable if used effectively. Instead of simply sending kids home, she suggested utilizing these days to provide resources and support, such as meetings with counselors, to help them manage stress and the challenges of today’s high-pressure world.
The importance of involving parents in the process.
Amy viewed addressing children’s well-being as a three-part system involving the school, the children themselves, and the parents. Parents needed resources not only to support their children but also to prioritize their own well-being, as they often placed their children’s needs ahead of their own.
Amy’s group Empowered Parents = Empowered Kids is a safe place for parents to share, connect and grow on a variety of topics that will help them feel empowered so they can help their kids feel empowered along the way.