Certified Replication Partners in our National Network are successfully replicating Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) across the country. The National Network Spotlight highlights a partner and celebrates their positive outcomes.
Each National Network partner discovers unique ways to tailor Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® to best serve the young people in their community. For Children’s Network of Southwest Florida, the lead agency for child welfare services in Southwest Florida, TOP® offered a great opportunity to partner with programs that were already serving youth.
“[TOP®’s] structure allowed us to maintain fidelity while serving a large geographic area,” said Program Director Karen Turcotte. “We serve teens ages 12-18 in 19 clubs across five counties. Our clubs are held in many different settings, including public schools, community grassroots organizations, group homes, faith-based programs and United Way community centers.”
The diverse settings of the clubs enable facilitators to work with students in familiar environments. By using previously existing supports, Children’s Network designs each club to strengthen the work that’s already occurring in the community. This method uses collective impact to achieve results, and allows Children’s Network to find ways to encourage more organizations to contribute to TOP®.
“Although it is not realistic for some agencies to become a club site, there are many different ways we’ve created community support for TOP®,” added Turcotte. “From providing food donations to guest speakers, offering community service learning help to transportation assistance, we look for ways every community organization can contribute to our TOP® clubs.”
These support systems allow participants to further learn from their community service learning projects and lessons. From their experiences, teens in the clubs are learning to think critically, identify their strengths and better understand and practice their personal values. For one student, TOP® also provided a way to channel energy into a meaningful reflection.
“Anthony is playful and enthusiastic, so sometimes it is difficult to tell if he grasps the concepts because he often engages in side chatter,” Facilitator John Wheeler said. “One week following our lesson on family, he was busy folding construction paper on the table throughout a lesson. At the end of the lesson, he showed us what he was working on: an intricately folded box that demonstrated how a family begins with one person and builds from love. As he unfolded his box and transformed it into a rose, he gave his peers a powerful demonstration of how to reflect on TOP®’s lessons.”
Overall, the teens and facilitators have thoroughly enjoyed TOP®. According to Turcotte, many organizations shared that TOP® is exactly the kind of programming communities need to enhance the experiences of young people.