top of page

What are UPstanding Children?

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

UPstanding Children are children who learn at an early age to stand up for themselves, each other, their community, and their planet. UPstanding children are in effect "Upstanders", a term used by Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz for a series of 5-6 minute films that focus on ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities. The stories showcase compassion, citizenship, equity and civility. But why wait for children to grow up to become great contributors?

Dawn L. Billings, personality and communication expert, architect of the Primary Colors Personality Tests and Insight tools and inventor of the patented parenting and teaching tool the CAPABLES knows a thing or two about inspiring children to live the greatness within them. Her first book was entitled "Greatness and Children: Learn the Rules" and she used those guidelines as she was raising her son Corbin Billings, who at age 10 got 169,000 trees planted in his home state of Oklahoma as well as, becoming a best selling author, and meeting the national requirements to become the youngest inspirational speaker in the history of the National Speakers Association. Corbin has grown up to continue his community work and was the director of a documentary to bring awareness to the enormous problem (pun intended) of childhood obesity called Bite Size.

The program UPstanding Children developed by Billings uses the patented teaching tool, a stuffed animal with a super hero cape as the base for a program to aid pre-school, kindergarten, first grade and second grade teachers to teach high level success skills like the importance of giving back to one's community, thought management (changing angry, mean or negative thoughts and replacing them with helpful, hopeful, positive ones), how to have a "change of heart" using the stuffed heart inside the CAPABLES, how to Stand tall for others, diversity, fairness, kindness and compassion, and even has PAWS to Examine feelings which is an extremely simple yet powerful way to teach emotional intelligence to children so they are better equipped to understand and appreciate one another,

According to Billings, "When I did research for my first book Greatness and Children: Learn the Rules over three and a half decades ago, I was in search of the answer to the question, “What makes some children choose to be great, and others choose to be less than their potential screams they should/could be?” I quickly realized that it was not money, skin color, religion, or even zip code. There were children who under the most difficult of circumstances chose to become fortified, resilient and extremely capable, while others in what we might describe as the best of circumstances, chose to go in the opposite direction. I was driven to understand, “How do we inspire each and every individual child to live the greatness within them?” My focus was on helping each individual child find their gifts, genius, strengths, and talents.

Then Shawn Acker, happiness researcher and author recently released a new book entitled Big Potential: How Transforming thePursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being. Shawn, like myself, began researching the individual and over the years has come to understand the enormous power and potential discovered only when a group of individuals

begin to understand the power of working together.

Acker states,

“Our society has become overly focused on the “power of one alone: versus “the power of one made stronger by others. . .We spend the first twenty-two years of our life being judged and praised for our individual attributes and what we can achieve alone, when, for the rest of our life, our success is almost entirely interconnected with that of others.”

Acker designed and ran one of the largest studies of human potential that has ever been done at Harvard. Using the most famously validated scale that measures how interconnected and socially supported an individual feels in their life, he found that social connection was, hands down, the greatest predictor of thriving both personally and academically at Harvard.

His research revealed that when we work to help others achieve success, we not only raise the performance of the group, we exponentially increase our own potential. He learned that our success and potential were not as dependent on our individual genius, talent, mastery and skill as it was on our ability to make more of ourselves by finding a fit for them in coordination and collaboration with others.

Shawn Acker continues, “Contrary to the myth of the lone genius, innovation and creativity have so much less to do with individual attributes or aptitudes and so much more to do with

those around you. . . We are constantly shaping and being shaped by how others give,

forgive, and invest in one another.”

Billings concurs and adds, "In the last twenty-five years, I have watched in dismay as communities, classrooms, colleges and our country have continued to grow hostile, intolerant and divided. Is it because there are not intelligent and capable individual members in these groups? No, of course not. I have come to believe that it is because the intelligent individuals who make up these groups have not been taught to cooperate and collaborate in making decisions that are bigger than their individual desires, motivations and opinions. I too have come to understand we are only truly great when we learn to use our individual gifts, genius and talents in service and connection with others. That is why I developed the CAPABLES UPstanding Children Classroom Community Development System™ to aide teachers as they inspire and empower children from an early age to work together toward a goal of greatness for an entire community. Yes we want to inspire the whole child, but we also want to teach them that they are a part of something larger and greater - a community. Let's work toward enhancing the whole child, the whole school, the whole community and the whole world."

That is the mission and goal of the CAPABLES UPstanding Children classroom Community Development System.

In 2008 Dawn was selected by Oprah Magazine and The White House project as one of 80 emerging women leaders in the nation.

Dawn L Billings is a serial entrepreneur and a communication and personality expert. Dawn is the creator/founder of programs, including

and she is executive director of the luxury couple's healing resort, in Arizona. Dawn is the CEO and Founder of The Heart Link Women’s Network, and the architect of the Primary Colors Personality Test and Insight Tools, founder of OverJOYed Life and creator of the Happiness Curriculum.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page