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Utica National Partners with Erin Gruwell and The Freedom Writers Foundation to Provide Virtual Learning Curriculum for Schools

April 8, 2020 – New Hartford, New York
The Utica National Insurance Group has partnered with teacher-turned-author Erin Gruwell and The Freedom Writers Foundation to offer a virtual Social-Emotional Learning curriculum to their school policyholders throughout the country

While teachers and students around the country transition to a world of virtual learning during this uncertain time due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Erin, The Freedom Writers Foundation, and a team of Freedom Writer Teachers have developed curriculum to focus on helping students who may have feelings of loneliness, fear, anxiety, and depression.

“Through our proud partnership with the Utica National Insurance Group, the Freedom Writers Foundation has been able to reach more talented teachers, more parents sheltering-in-place, and most importantly, more struggling students in need,” Erin Gruwell said. “Their sponsorship enables us to help the most vulnerable among us. By expanding our academic reach to more virtual classrooms, we can share our vital curriculum that addresses the mental health needs of all students during the uncertainties of this crisis.”

“Erin and her Freedom Writers are committed to helping teachers and students reach deep inside themselves to be the best version of themselves, especially during this difficult time,” Utica National Educational Institutions Resident Senior Vice President Brian Saville said. “We’re privileged to work with such dedicated partners to offer these helpful online learning tools during this time of crisis.”

All curriculum material is being developed by members of the Freedom Writers team in conjunction with a group of K-12 teachers. The school policyholders will be provided with weekly topics and each installment will be broken down by grade level (age) appropriateness and will focus on a positive behavior to help students and families cope during this time.

This is not the first time Utica National has partnered with Erin Gruwell and The Freedom Writers Foundation. In the fall of 2019, Utica National provided 1,850 copies of “The Freedom Writers Diary” for ninth grade students in 13 local school districts in Central New York. The book, published in 1999 and the basis for the 2007 movie, “Freedom Writers,” starring Hilary Swank, tells the story of Gruwell and her 150 at-risk students in Long Beach, California during the early 1990s. The students in the Central New York districts also attended a presentation by Erin Gruwell and some of the Freedom Writers.

About the Freedom Writers Foundation

The Freedom Writers Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 2003 to provide educators with the tools they need to empower their students to succeed both inside and outside the classroom. The vision of the Freedom Writers Foundation is to create a world where all youth have the chance to succeed by: engaging communities to support inclusive education to connect with their students; and empowering youth to use their voice to realize success. The curriculum is being adapted from their book, “The Freedom Writers Diary,” its associated “Teacher’s Guide,” the feature film “Freedom Writers,” the PBS documentary “Freedom Writers: Stories from The Heart,” and the Freedom Writers Podcast.

About Utica National

Utica National is a nationally recognized insurer providing personal and commercial insurance. Founded 106 years ago, Utica National has been insuring public and private schools for over 45 years. In 2017, Utica National became a $1 billion company. In addition to its New Hartford location, the company has offices in Utica, New York; Amherst, New York; Woodbury, New York; Wakefield, Massachusetts; Columbus, Ohio; Richmond, Virginia; Duluth, Georgia; Richardson, Texas; Des Plaines, Illinois; and Indianapolis, Indiana.