Archive for the ‘Life Skills Activities for Youth’ Category
This activity is used to reinforce that values play a role in the make-up of a person’s personal identity.
First, have the students identify several unique character and personal values. Examples of character values would be accountability, honesty, compassion, etc. Personal values would be things like family, friendship and health. Based upon their answers, have the students think of available items they can place in their boxes to represent their values, qualities, and interests/abilities. Encourage the students to be creative and imaginative when using the materials available.
After the students decide on the items they would like to use in their boxes, give each a shoe box to decorate. The end product will be an “identity box” that reflects the student’s values, interests, and qualities. An additional option for this activity is to have participants write a paper describing their identity boxes.
At the end of the session, ask students to share their boxes with the group. After a few have shared with the group, explain to the group that just like each person’s identity box represents only that person, everyone is unique and special. Tell students that knowing their values and staying true to those is one of the most important decisions they can make: a decision that will build pride and confidence in their personal identity for a lifetime.
Many of Winning Futures’ lessons and activities are designed to help students develop long-term goals. A session held with high school students last week stressed why financial independence and earning potential should be important factors when setting their education and career goals.
Studies show that more education leads to bigger paychecks; i.e., the more you learn the more you earn. To demonstrate this, students were shown average salaries for American workers based on the amount of education they had attained:
• Less than a high school diploma – $9.47 per hour/$18,000 annually
• High school diploma – $12.50 per hour/$24,000 annually
• Associate degree – $15.24 per hour/$30,000 annually
• Bachelor’s degree – $19.28 per hour/$38,000 annually
• Master’s degree – $24.04 per hour/$48,000 annually
Throughout the lesson, mentors worked with students to explain other benefits of continuing their education and setting achievable career goals other than earning power, including:
• Having a lifetime of increased opportunities
• Being more empowered as an agent in your their own lives
• Being better able to weather adversity
• Increased personal marketability
Many lessons like these that you can implement in your own classrooms and youth programs are outlined in Winning Futures’ “Achieving Success” workbook. Click on the “Purchase Books” button at left to learn more.
Having students create a coat of arms gives them the opportunity to describe qualities about themselves and to learn more about other group members. Mentors should encourage the participants to use colors and writing styles that represent their personalities.
In space 1, have students draw something that characterizes a talent they posses. If working on a group coat of arms, each person will include their own symbol in space 1.
In space 2, have students sketch out a something they are really good at.
In space 3, have students draw a symbol of how they like to spend their spare time (an interest).
In space 4, have students write something that reflects their personal motto.
Have pre-made Coat of Arms, color markers or pencils ready before class begins. You can download the handout at www.WinningFuturesBooks.org. Go to the Online Support
page and locate Coat of Arms. Remember to have your user ID and password.
Credit cards may seem like an easy solution to not having money for what you want. Teaching students the reality of credit cards can help them be financially successful in years to come. Below is a lesson used in the Winning Futures classroom to bring reality to getting into debt!
Scenario: Imagine that you love video games. No, imagine that you live for video games. Imagine next, that a new version of the X-Box just went on sale this week at Wal-Mart for $199 and a couple of games for $49.99 to go with it, bringing the total to $300.00.
You have friends coming over this weekend and you would love to have the system at home for everyone to play.
The only… little bitty problem: You don’t have the cash/money.
The simple and Oh! So… easy solution: Your new credit card, and a salesperson telling you, “you don’t have to wait until you earn the money; why not enjoy your X-Box tonight, while you’re paying it off in “easy payments“.
Scenario- Discussion Questions:
1. If the average person had a credit card and really wanted this X-Box, what do you think he would do?
2. What would you do? What are the consequences of waiting until you earned the money to purchase it with cash? (You might not have as much fun for a few weeks.)
3. What could the consequences be, if you purchased it with the credit card? (If you can’t pay it off by the end of the month, you start paying interest. You pay much more for it in the long run. You begin to charge other things. You don’t have the money to invest).
Buying on credit and making monthly payments puts multiplication working against you. Saving the money to buy it outright and investing the money you would have spent in interest puts multiplication working for you.
Beating the System: Credit Cards and “Easy” Payments:
Let’s look more closely at that X-Box and the accompanying games, which sold for a total of $300.00. Let’s imagine that you have the average credit card interest rate from (2005) of 13%.
(You will find that the rate is in small, almost unreadable type, at the bottom of your application).
Average Minimum payment is 3%. Ask yourself, “3%” of what? Answer is “3% of the amount of your purchase. Therefore, your minimum payment is $9.00 per month. If you just make the minimum payment, you will still be paying for it over four years and at least one newer version of the X-Box will have been made. During the 48 months that you are making payments, you will pay $324.00 in interest. That’s money over and above the $300. It’s the multiplication of that 13% working against you. Over time, you paid $624 for that X-Box and the two games.
In all aspects of life, we have to be able to work with people around us. A great way to develop team work and get to know your teammates is by using games to create a fun and open forum. In the Winning Futures classroom, teams play a modified version of the game Jenga. Teams are asked to set a goal as to how high they want to build their tower. If the tower falls over, they just start again! But of course the purpose of this game is not just to work together, but to get to know one another. Winning Futures uses a modified version by using AveryLabels8167 to print questions on and place over the game pieces!
How the game is played:
The mentor goes first by pulling out a block, and then play continues to the left. Before each team member can make a move, he/she must read a question to the person on their left. The person on the left must reply before the reader can make their move. Each player must remove a block. They then place that block on top of the tower in the same crisscross way the tower was built. You may use only one hand. You may touch a block to see if it is loose. Once the player has completed his/her move and the question has been answered, it is the next players turn.
Sometimes in a classroom time is limited. But introductions should not be compromised due to the lack of time. A quick and fun for the mentors and mentees to become familiar with all the adult volunteers and for the mentees to become acquainted with their own mentors is to do “Mentor Speed Meetings”
Before the first class, mentors need to be alerted that they need to bring in interesting, physical items to show their teams. This is a great way to pull mentee(s) into a conversation. Mentors are required to bring in any of the following items to help them obtain an accurate picture of what their companies do and/or to share who they are as a person.
• Small parts or products your organization makes
• Organizational chart – with the intent of showing the relationship and support structure among various jobs within your organization
• Company brochures, newsletters, employee handbook
• List of entry-level jobs and a list of occupations that require continuing education (college or technical training)
• Awards or recognitions
• Items that represent your interests and hobbies
Start the class out by letting students know that all the mentors in the program have different backgrounds and careers and it will be beneficial for students to meet all of the volunteers. Students are starting to build their professional network and all the mentors in the room will become part of it.
Starting with their team, mentors will have four minutes to introduce themselves to the team and talk about their career. When the bell rings, mentors are asked to stand up and walk to the next table.
1) Get all of the teams settled down and introduce the activity.
2) Time four minutes and ring a bell or announce that time is up.
3) Once mentors are back at their original table, move to the second part.
Once activity one is finished, mentors are asked to share a little bit about themselves and the company they work for with their team. This includes what their company does and its inner workings. And at this time mentors are asked to bring
out a physical object they brought in to represent the company or them personally.
Mentors need to be prepared about what they need to talk about with all of the mentee teams. Give them these tips before their first meeting by email, mail, or phone calls.
• Job title and primary duties
• Education and experience required?
• Salary and benefits?
• Current outlook for new college graduates?
• Interests and skills needed for occupation
•Advantages/disadvantages of working in this field?
• What type of work schedule does this field require?
• Main responsibilities associated with work in your field?
A great way to support students in career exploration is to show an interest! A resourse used at Winning Futures to help students compare and learn more about their career interests is The Occupational Outlook Handbook website – http://www.bls.gov/oco/.
By providing information on careers, students will be better prepared to set their education goals!
Ways to use the Occupational Outlook Handbook site—
~To find out about a specific occupation or topic, use the Search
box that is on every page…you enter your search term in the box.
~To find out about the many occupations, browse through listings using the Occupation
link that is on the left side of each page.
~For a listing of all occupations in alphabetical order, go to the A-Z Index and select a letter.
Helping students see that a positive attitude, or outlook on life, can lead to positive behavior and create success can be done having students rate their attitudes.
Below are some sample question used in the Winning Futures class. Students are asked students to rate themselves using a scale of 1-5.
- You are able to find the positive in a bad situation?
- Instead of participating in gossip, you have the courage to say something nice or nothing at all?
- You are usually the first person to give out a compliment?
- Even when things are stressful, you are able to focus on what needs to be done?
- You put your best effort in all you do?
With the help of mentors, Winning Futures talks to students about the importance of community service and how it helps others as well as the benefits for the individual providing the service (college admittance, resume building, leadership skills, etc.). Teams are required to complete a community service project to benefit a group in society.
By doing things that interest them, teens often gain new skills and find new career opportunities that they hadn’t thought of before. Students working with animal organizations may discover they would like to become a veterinarian. Those helping disabled individuals may find opportunities in health care or social services. In addition, the experiences gained in volunteer settings can provide teens with skills in leadership and decision-making, and also look attractive on college and scholarship applications.
Teens are exposed to people and circumstances they have not encountered in their life. Volunteers learn about respect and kindness through working with the homeless, serving the elderly at a retirement home, or helping disabled children create art. Teens develop better appreciation for the little things in life and also receive a personal satisfaction of knowing they have made a difference in someone’s life.
Besides finding new career opportunities, volunteering also provides teens with other skills necessary in the job market. Teens have a chance to learn important communication and interpersonal skills. The same leadership skills that help with their education will also help in the business world. Volunteering also provides teens a chance to increase their knowledge in certain areas. Those activities could add experience to a resume.
To find a place in your area to volunteer go to http://www.volunteermatch.org/.
Gregory Kelser has partnered with Winning Futures to help teach students at his basketball camp, not only the fundamentals of basketball, but how goal setting and education can help in the game of life. The Gregory Kelser Basketball Camp is designed to be instructive, interactive, motivational, and FUN! He will also include daily messages emphasizing how extremely important the role education has been in his life and will challenge each child to pursue education with the same determination and energy used for sports.
Winning Futures “Goal-Setting Coaches” will work with 3-5 students on fun, hands-on activities based around goal setting, positive attitude, team work, and preparing for ninth grade. Each day, students participate in basketball activities and in the Winning Futures “Shoot for your Goals” sessions. To be a goal setting career coach at Greg Kelser’s Baketball Camp go to www.winningfutures.org.
. Detroit Pistons Broadcaster on FS Detroit
. MSU All-America & Academic All-America
. Former Detroit Piston
. MSU and Michigan Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
This program is funded by:
Powerlink, Sodexo, and the Detroit Public Schools Foundation