WhyTry is a flexible toolkit and curriculum for teachers and counselors. It provides simple, hands-on strategies and resources to help motivate the unmotivated student, support students with trauma, improve engagement, and increase academic success. The program utilizes a series of ten visual analogies that teach essential life skills include: decision-making, positive self-esteem, emotional regulation, having a resilient mindset, peer influence and relationships, problem-solving, hard work and determination, responsibility and expectations, relationship building, and self-efficacy. The analogies are reinforced through the use of music, hands-on activities, stories, and multimedia in efforts to engage all major learning styles

Last reviewed: 2023

Intended Outcomes:

This program provides hands-on strategies and resources to help motivate the unmotivated student, support students with trauma, improve engagement, and increase academic success.

Continuum of Care:
Universal Prevention

Topic Areas:
Behavioral Health/Mental Health, Disruptive Behaviors, Trauma

Childhood (4-12), Teen/Adolescent (13-18)

Geographic Locations:
Rural, Urban

Delivery Settings:

Cultural Considerations:
No research found involving diverse populations

This program is intended for students grades K-12.

This program is implemented by teachers and counselors.


Is Training Required?
Yes, see developer info

Who can provide the required training?
Please visit the following site for more training information: https://whytry.org/training/

Program Costs (materials, training, etc.):
Yes, refer to program website

Program/Practice Website:

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research:

Alvarez, M. E. & Anderson-Ketchmark, C. (2009). Review of an evidence-based school social work intervention: WhyTry. Children and Schools, 31(1), 59-61.

Unable to be Rated

WV Rating:
Unable to Be Rated
»WV Ratings Info

Rationale for Rating:

This program was unable to be rated. The curriculum’s website suggests that the program has been concluded to yield improvements in locus of control, the ability to set and achieve goals, relationships with teachers and fellow students, classroom engagement, attendance, academic performance, and Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BASC) scores. However, such highlighted literature was concluded to predominately be comprised of program website-hosted smaller school-focused/student-focused case studies often without details of the evaluation’s methodologies. Additional review yielded limited findings, with much of the identified literature being unavailable through major databases (e.g., Wymore, 2007, Williams, 2009; Mortensen & Rush, 2007; Acuna et al., 2008). Further, of studies identified, many were non-peer reviewed dissertations (e.g., Whittle, 2010; Minor, 2009; Kula, 2012; Baker, 2008), theses (e.g., Price, 2020), poster presentations (e.g., Knick, 2010), and field research (e.g., Elliot, 2016, Bise, 2009, Bird, 2010). Of the one peer reviewed manuscript that was identified (i.e., Alverez & Anderson-Ketchmark, 2009), the manuscript was a general program description with reviewed programs either not adhering to the WhyTry protocol, or being of a very small sample size, limiting interpretation.

Contraindications or Concerns:
None identified

Other Registries/Ratings

The California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare:
Not On Registry

Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development:
Not On Registry

Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness:
Not On Registry

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Model Programs Guide:
Not On Registry

Washington State Institute for Public Policy:
Not On Registry