Posts Tagged ‘teen issues’
Just saying the word “test” can cause a student’s stress level to rise. Fortunately, by using some of the techniques Winning Futures’ has developed and outlined in its curriculum and workbooks, students can alleviate this stress, improve their test-taking ability and increase their grades.
According to Winning Futures’ Program Facilitator Taquaryl Franklin, “70-percent of Winning Futures’ students improve their test scores and overall grades by at least half a grade over six weeks.” Some of the techniques used to achieve these extraordinary results are:
• Studying early and regularly as opposed to “cramming.”
• Carefully reading course materials and test directions.
• Using tricks such as acronyms to aid memory retention.
Tips such as these – and many more – can be found in Winning Futures’ “Road to Success” workbook. Click on the “Purchase Books” button at left to learn more.
Winning Futures and Detroit Public Schools kicked-off a new pilot program at Cass Technical High School on March 1. At the first session, mentors and mentees met each other at a “break the ice session.” Mentors took five minutes to introduce themselves to each group of students to demonstrate the inaugural session’s underlying theme: The importance of synergy – i.e. forming relationships – in a professional setting.
As many research studies and business experts can attest, synergy is a vital component in successful business dealings and professional advancement. In an article entitled The Benefits and Challenges of Team Collaboration, business management and human services expert Bruce Tyson stated that those who emphasize fostering synergy in day-to-day activities “create results that are greater than what can be achieved working independently. Among other things… synergies can be manifested in reduced costs, increased capabilities, and more flexibility to adapt to changing requirements.”
This introductory exercise introduced Cass Tech students to the Winning Futures’ curriculum outlined in our unique, professionally developed handbook for high-school students, Achieving Success: A Guide to Designing Your Future. In the weeks to come, students will explore further topics such as self exploration, career options and long-term goal-setting.
All these lessons, along with accompanying exercises and development tools, are available for you to utilize through our special collection of workbooks for middle and high-school students. These are available for purchase through our website by clicking here. Check them out today to see how Winning Futures can help you help your students achieve their goals and live up to their full potential!
When a student shares emotional or confidential information with you, keep the following in mind:
Guidelines for maintaining a young person’s confidences
- Respect their privacy
- Don’t share with others what they have told you about him/herself
Guidelines for deciding whether to break confidentiality
- If what you heard or experience feels “wrong” to you, contact staff member ASAP
- If you are not sure, ask
- The young person’s safety or someone else’s safety is in danger, or
- An illegal activity is involved
As much as I gave to my mentees through mentoring, I received even more. When you know you have people who look up to you, you hold yourself to a higher standard. It has always been my belief that a person should lead by example, and the more I encouraged my students to take responsibility for their work, strengthen their relationships with family and friends, and give back to the community, the more I found myself improving those areas in my life as well. The more I listened to them and their concerns, the better listener I became to everyone else around me. As I watched them pursuing their goals with more passion each week, the more passionately I pursued my own.
I cannot fully express just how rewarding the experience has been for me. As a mentor, not only was I able to have a positive influence on three young men and become a role model in their lives, but also (quite unexpectedly) they had a positive influence on my life and became role models for me as well.
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/.
Having guest speakers in a classroom can be a powerful experience for students. It lets them see that successful adults have their own stories about how they overcome obstacles and struggles in their lives to help get them to where they are today. Winning Futures welcomed Dennis Liegghio, Founder of KnowResolve, to speak to students in the program about how important relationship goals have been in his life.
Dennis writes, “I was 14 years old when I lost my father to suicide. Our last words were in anger. For the next ten years, I blamed myself for my Dad’s death and struggled with depression, self-destructive behavior and my own thoughts of suicide. In 2001, ten years after losing my father, I wrote a song called “No Resolve,” which helped me to start working through the anger and sadness that had held me captive for so long. I kept writing songs, started the Student Driver Band, and recorded an album.
My mom gave a copy of that album to Jean Larch, who runs a Survivors of Suicide support group in Macomb County, Michigan. Jean invited me to visit the group and perform “No Resolve.” The experience was so powerful and overwhelming that it ignited a passion to help spread the word and raise awareness, and was the inspiration for starting this organization in early 2007.
I was invited to tell my story to a group of middle school students, and within a year of that first presentation, KnowResolve had become my life’s work. Since our humble beginnings in 2007, we have spoken nationally to more than 24,000 teens and young adults about the importance of hope, connection and community.
Vision: It wasn’t very long ago that I was so empty and hopeless that I didn’t believe there was anything worth living for. I kept my walls up, and kept everyone in my life at a safe distance – hiding my insecurities and misery behind self-destructive behavior. I numbed myself to the world around me. I was convinced that I would die young, and I did my best to self-destruct.
My life changed when I realized and accepted three 3 simple,
• Sometimes life is unfair, and sometimes it just sucks
• The world doesn’t owe me anything
• Nobody is coming to save me – my happiness is my responsibility
Over time, with help from friends, family, therapy, books and expressing myself through music, I began to feel purpose, peace, balance, and even joy again. I discovered that yes, we are the sum of our upbringings and circumstances — but we have the power and the CHOICE to change, to grow, and to overcome. Hope and happiness are possible, no matter where or what you come from.
For more information visit Knowresolve.org
Last week, I spoke at the National “Youth At-Risk conference through Georgia Southern University. Educators and youth serving professionals, this is a conference to have on your list for 2012. They had very innovative workshops with realistic activities and programs you can immediately implement. My workshop focused on creating and implementing mentoring programs for agencies who work with at-risk youth. http://ceps.georgiasouthern.edu/conted/nationalyouthatrisk.html
Winter can be lonely for some teens, especially those who are coping with family issues, a recent loss of a loved one, and whose families are experiencing economic hardship. Something as little as receiving positive encouragement in the mail from someone who cares about them can help build a mentoring relationship.
When working in mentoring teams it is important to build synergy. Winning Futures encourages mentors to do bi-monthly letter writing to keep the synergy flowing in between mentoring sessions.
Letter writing can be as simple as a post-it note on a magazine, article, to a poem, to a personalized letter. Buy a handful of cards with different messages and themes. Mail those out once a month to make letter writing easier for you!
Ever since I joined the Winning Futures Program, I have learned better values and how to be a better me. More and more students these days are misguided and need someone to help guide them when their parents are not there all the time. They are not pushed to their full potential or there is something holding them back, like family problems.
~Rani, 12th grade Winning Futures Student
In every Winning Futures meeting/class, we start with our “Good News” activity. We lay the ground work at the beginning of the year by stating that we know standing up in front of a group can be scary, awkward, and unnerving. That is why our “Number One” rule is “Respect for all Speakers” no matter if it is an adult or student. If someone is speaking, everyone in the room is to stay quiet with no side talking, snickering, or comments.
We ask anyone with something positive to share to please stand, say their first and last name, and tell us their good news. We allot up to 3 minutes for people to share. If you have mentors or adult volunteers, ask them to also share to help get things going each time.
We then close each class with a “Stand and Share” where mentees again stand, say their first and last name, and one thing they learned or liked about the class. We coach the students to be Loud and Proud by speaking up and making sure everyone can hear them.
I will let you that at the beginning of the year, it is sometimes like pulling teeth to have students volunteer. Through role modeling and encouraging students we know have good news to share, soon we have too many people wanting to speak!
Many teachers we work with have begun incorporating this into their daily classes and they have seen a tremendous difference in their participation as a whole in class and the respect level between the students.