Thank You

We want to thank our sponsors and corporate donors. Without the support of our trusted and valued sponsors, we would not be able to continue our mission to help young people. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Frontier Behavioral Health
Geeks on Wheels
Hearn Brothers Printing
Missionary Chocolates
Office Depot
QPR Institute
RBC Wealth Management
Red Lion Foundation
Spokane Regional Health
Spokane Rotary 21
WA Trust Bank



SMILE is excited to announce that with community support and donations, our organization has been able to provide funding for student workshops every year at the Libby Center since 1997 - Thank you for your continued support!


2020 & 2021: Tessera programs include teaching empathy, civility and human kindness through bibliotherapy, robotics and hands-on programming.  Students will learn how one robot, Roz, learns empathy for animals and people. Using a variety of literature, and a research-based technique known as bibliotherapy, students will learn how even a robot can feel empathy for others.  Students explore hands-on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) curriculum while encouraging students to collaboratively build our Tessera community. This includes a yearlong anti-bullying, global citizenship initiative, to support STEAM creativity and exploration in the classroom.


2018 & 2019: Tessera students (296) ages 9 and 13 were positively impacted by the activities made possible with the SMILE grant.  The work we have done with Dr. Dan Peters has spanned nearly the entire year starting in October and ending in June.  Tessera teachers have created a variety of lessons, activities, group work surrounding Dr. Dan’s book From Worrier to Warrior: A Guide to Conquering Your Fears.


The video conference with Dr. Dan took place daily during the week of December 10th to 14th, with the evening community happening on Thursday 12-13.  Dr. Dan’s video conferences were engaging and interactive.  During each presentation Dr. Dan discussed why we react to stresses and worries the way we do, ways to positively address these situations, and specific ways to combat the myriad of things that can worry us.  Students and families were able to, in real time, ask questions, discuss specific problems, and receive practical suggestions of how to conquer their “worry monster”
Throughout the year students have learned the neurologic and physical responses created by anything that triggers our amygdala.  They have learned specific ways to positively change their thinking.  They have created a toolbox of specific things they can overcome fears, anxiety, and any challenges that life throws their way.  They also generated a list of people they can ask for help if need be.  Finally, students have learned to take better care of themselves and each other by being kind, thoughtful, and proactive in how they deal with these stresses.  Countless students, parents, and siblings have relayed stories describing ways the work we have completed so far this year has truly helped them handle their worries and anxieties.


Previous Student Workshops: Tessera Feedback - The Lasting Impacts of the Tessera SMILE Grant

April Payne’s and Gary Gillespie’s yearlong digital citizenship project for the sixth and seventh grade students, along with the accompanying technology needed for implementation and continued academic growth.  This digital citizenship project included approximately four assemblies throughout the year focused on anti-bullying in a digital world.  These may be expanded to include more of the school student body, as administration decides.  Assemblies included:
Be One Strategies, guest speakers (district attorney, school police, and suicide leadership counsel from the high school), fish bowl activities, student panel, etc.
In conjunction with these assemblies, students will be practicing digital and global citizenship throughout the year by maintaining either a webpage or wiki space.
Two projects to help students gain self-confidence, self-esteem, and build a supportive classroom environment that values each person's uniqueness.  These two projects will greatly benefit the nearly 300 third through sixth grade students we serve, will greatly enrich our efforts to intentionally address the critical issues of Civility and Anti-Bullying.
Project 1: Individual Sculptures - As students discover who they are and what they stand for, they will decorate their foam heads with a variety of supplies including paint, cloth, gears, and elements found in nature.  These sculptures represent more about what is on the inside than what our outside portrays.  This project idea was presented during Edufest, a Gifted and Talented Summer Institute in Boise, Idaho.  Many teachers of gifted and talented students have seen great growth in student self-awareness after completing this activity.
Project 2: Fellers Arts Factory - Fellers Arts Studio offers a wonderful program that includes music, storytelling, and mask making aimed at enhancing the Explorations unit.  Tessera teachers strive to encourage students to be lifelong explorers intellectually as well as physically.  Once students have a better understanding of who they are, they will have the confidence to step out into unknown territories.
Partners Through Art, a local non-profit organization focused on utilizing the arts to make our community a better place.  The focus will be on civility and anti-bullying, utilizing the medium of theater, as well as incorporating the curriculum of Asian cultural studies.
Mr. X The Math Magician workshop by Bob Bishop - Mr. Bishop taught both interactive presentations during several days with all the Tessera classes and also offered staff development for the teachers at Libby in the evenings.  He taught various fun approaches to math, using logic, and how to apply strategy to life planning.
Suzanne Ostersmith, an accomplished dancer, thespian, and Dance Program Director for Gonzaga University’s Theatre and Dance Department conducted workshops for Tessera students.  The students learned creative dance concepts to design an ARTS experience in dance, movement, and theatre.  This creative experience helped to expand healthy forms of expression for students to use as they progress in life.
From Glenda Kohls - Tessera Teacher for 3-5 Grades: "Our students LOVED the dance.  One of my students said, 'Even though I felt strange dancing, I REALLY liked it!'  That led to an interesting discussion about dance as self-expression and culture."
From Liz Ulmen at Tessera: "Tessera was a haven for Craig as an elementary student.  Because of this, we have enjoyed the honor of repeated annual gifting of funds to bring arts and social skills education resources to our students at Tessera and Odyssey.  Over the years, SMILE has brought artists in multiple mediums, authors, poets, dancers, photographers, and more to our students.  This year, our grant was used to collaborate with the Gonzaga University Theater and Dance department for dancing instruction combined with anti-bullying theatric experiences [benefitting over 320 Tessera students.]"