Elona, asked in a comment: "Why are some kids able to succeed despite everything while other kids can't?" You suggested that a caring adult makes a difference, and research on factors in the child's world does show that such relationships are important.
The Penn Resiliency Program, however, focuses on the thinking patterns of students, especially their beliefs about adversities that shape how they feel and respond in the face of such adversity. For example, the student who gets a bad grade on a quiz and thinks, "I'm stupid. I'll never learn," will react differently from one who thinks "I knew that material -- I need to ask the teacher how to do better on tests!" Likewise, a student who walks into the cafeteria and sees a friend look her way then turn and walk off and thinks, "I knew she wouldn't stay my friend, nobody ever does," is going to react badly to the incident. One who thinks, "Wow! Wonder what she's got going on -- must be exciting. I'll call her later," is going to follow a much different path over the rest of the day. A more positive explanatory style (the second example in each of the vignettes above) leads to more resource-building actions as well as to more positive feelings (the "Broaden & Build" theory, Barb Fredrickson_. In the context of relationships with adults, students with a more positive explanatory style are more likely to develop and sustain such supportive relationships.
Of course, this isn't as simple as "Think Positive!" Students need to learn to monitor their internal dialogue and recognize the connections between their beliefs and how they feel. Then they have to learn to generate alternative explanations and look for evidence about the accuracy of each. The goal is flexible, accurate thinking, not just positivity. But, in ambiguous situations (and how many aren't?), we should all lean toward positivity.
On that basis, the Penn Resiliency Program goes on to build skills in assertive communication styles, decision making, time management, etc. Good stuff! Multiple research studies, both those conducted by Karen Reivich and Jane Gillham, the developers of PRP, and studies conducted by others have demonstrated the power of the curriculum. And they've got it down to manualized set of 12 2-hour (or so) lessons that teachers can learn to deliver. I'll be going to Philadelphia in about three weeks as a facilitator for training Drs. Reivich and Gillham and Dr. Judy Salzburg are giving to about 80 teachers being sent over from three school systems in England. Very exciting stuff!