Wyman Welcomes Karen Guskin, Forms New Knowledge Management Department

St. Louis, MO [Sept. 22, 2014]Wyman Center, a national leader that provides at-risk teens and communities the tools they need to succeed, is pleased to announce the addition of Karen Guskin, Senior Vice President. Guskin will oversee Wyman’s new Knowledge Management Department, beginning Sept. 22, 2014.

Guskin brings extensive experience in the research field with a particular focus on children. Previously, she served as the Director of Research and Quality Improvement for Parents as Teachers National Center, a federally recognized, evidence-based model that specializes in early childhood development.

While at Parents as Teachers, Guskin oversaw the design, development, implementation and communication of data on programming impact and reach. She also guided quality assurance and improvement initiatives, as well as outcome measurement.

Guskin will be responsible for designing and institutionalizing Wyman’s research strategy, driving learning from Wyman’s intellectual capital, and informing innovation. In addition, she will spearhead initiatives to share resulting learnings with Wyman’s more than 60-partner national network, and key stakeholders at nonprofits, government, funding sources and educational and healthcare institutions throughout the U.S.

With Guskin’s expertise, the Knowledge Management department will guide Wyman’s ongoing participation in national youth development studies and bridge theory, practice and advocacy for Wyman’s national initiatives.

Guskin has participated in numerous conferences and articles on parenting, children’s coping styles, evaluation and implementation. She holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a doctorate in psychology from Stanford University. She also studied clinical psychology at the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

“We believe teens are one of our nation’s greatest assets, but in order to ensure we’re continuing to unlock their potential, we have to do our homework,” said David Hilliard, President and CEO of Wyman Center. “Karen will guide vital research that will ultimately help us provide, replicate and integrate the most effective evidence-based programs that truly help today’s at-risk teens create brighter futures.”

Wyman is currently involved in research with 11 replication partners, including Chicago Public Schools, the Florida Department of Health and the City of Rochester, N.Y.

As a result of these and other learnings, Wyman offers a variety of opportunities to share youth development best practices in support of collective impact. On October 8, Wyman will assemble local and national experts in a round-table discussion on social emotional learning.  To register for this free event, visit http://wymancenter.org/saighsymposium2014/.

About Wyman Center

Wyman, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit and proud member of the United Way, partners with communities to provide teens with the support and opportunities they need to survive and thrive in life. Wyman’s innovative programs are powerful and effective, and the staff is highly acclaimed and committed to preparing today’s youth. For more information, visit www.wymancenter.org or contact Wyman at info@wymancenter.org. 

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For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Kristin Gumper, Director, Communication and External Affairs, at Kristin.Gumper@WymanCenter.org or 314.346.4042.

Insight to Impact: Every Gift Matters

The Kohls first learned of Wyman when they lived in Wildwood, Mo., and Ruth started volunteering with the Tri-County Helpmates, a group of local volunteers. Now, Ruth and her fellow volunteers spend one morning a month at Wyman’s Eureka campus, assembling mailings, preparing meals and filling in wherever the team is needed. In addition to providing financial support and a lot of elbow grease for Wyman, Ruth and her fellow Helpmates support several nonprofit agencies in and around Eureka.

What is most commendable about the Kohl’s long history of philanthropy is that she and her husband have done so while raising a family and building a business, Consultant Lubricants, Inc., where much of their family is now employed. “We always felt like we were blessed and had an obligation to give back,” said Ruth. Wyman inducted Ruth into the Volunteer Hall of Fame in May.

By giving back to their community and Wyman, Ruth and Mel serve as role models for Wyman teens. The Kohl’s gifts have mattered to thousands of young people, who have passed through the stone arch of Camp Wyman and through the clubs and classrooms. Thank you Ruth and Mel – your gift matters!

Saigh Symposium Content Hot Off the Presses

Thank you to our friends, colleagues, teens and partners for joining us for our 2014 Saigh Symposium.

Wyman is pleased to provide helpful youth development content around social emotional learning:

  • View key takeaways from audience members via Twitter: @WymanCenter.
  • Download presentation slides by clicking the below link:
    2014 Symposium Presentation
  • Check back next week for the livestream recording.
  • Watch and enjoy this 2-minute piece on Educating the Heart.

 

Partner Shout Out: Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, Office on Children & Youth at James Madison University

In Harrisonburg, Va., the past several months have been busy for the 11 sites implementing Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) program through the Office on Children and Youth at James Madison University.

Two clubs decided to plant trees in a city park, learned how to take initiative and were rewarded with the ability to see immediate results of their hard work.

To plan the community service learning event, the group took charge of soliciting tree donations from local businesses, and landed a generous gift from James Madison University’s Edith J. Carrier Arboretum. The teens joined forces to plant more than 50 trees while gaining a better understanding about environmental stewardship and conservation. They also worked together to clean up tires and other trash from a nearby creek.

Meanwhile, teens in the multi-school TOP club in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Youth Council worked to find ways to give greater access to a college preparatory program for students lacking access in Rockingham County.

The group attended school board meetings, researched costs of extending the program, compiled potential outcomes and interviewed program instructors to create a presentation to educate the Rockingham County School Board about its benefits.

Thanks to their leadership and passion to help other students secure better and brighter futures, the college prep program is under consideration for the 2015-2016 school year.

Partner Shout Out: Oasis Center in Nashville, TN

May peace be everywhere

In the midst of the turmoil in St. Louis, a group of Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) teens from the Oasis Center in Nashville, Tenn., found a way to encourage and lift up the spirits of their fellow TOP club members at Ferguson Middle School.

The Oasis TOP club is comprised of teens that are predominantly referred by Juvenile Court, and other youth and staff.

Together, the Oasis club created a special work of art, featuring inspirational quotes of hope and piece, which they hand-painted on the canvas. The banner was delivered by Oasis team members and used by the TOP facilitators in Ferguson to welcome students back to school.

According to Kaleigh Cornelison, TOP Manager at Ferguson Middle School, talking about the banner has helped the group open up conversations about the community, how the region and residents were portrayed by the media, and even what it means to be a TOP teen.

“Some pretty awesome conversations have come up,” said Kaleigh. “When we asked our club members why the teens in Nashville created this gift for us, they reflected on the fact that it was because they loved us, cared for us, and because ‘we’re all connected.’”

Featured Quotes:

 “Stay strong and continue the fight for what’s right.

Remember this: You’re bringing much needed change to America. God Bless!” 

“If everyone helps to hold up the sky, then one person does not become tired.” 

“Love is a universal language that brings everyone together. Speak it.” 

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” 

“I see no color. Together we will stand.”

National Network Spotlight: Ferguson Middle School

Teens at Ferguson Middle School, located in St. Louis, Mo, resumed classes on Sept. 2 after being postponed due to the tragic death of a local youth, Michael Brown. The return to normalcy was welcomed by students – and considered by some – as a gift.

Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) joins dozens of other support services currently being offered in the Ferguson community to help children and parents work through the turmoil caused by the recent tragedy.

Coincidentally, this year marks the first year TOP is being offered at the school. Three facilitators, including Kaleigh Cornelison, Brenden Christensen and Emma Liss, provide TOP programming to more than 300 students as part of the school’s seventh grade social studies curriculum.

“I can’t think of any better time to be running a program about life skills, healthy behaviors and providing teens with a sense of purpose,” said Kaleigh, who serves as the Teen Outreach Program Manager at Ferguson Middle School. “So much of TOP is about community, and right now, the community is in crisis. We’re thankful that we’re here to provide a safe place where kids can process their feelings in a healthy way.”

According to Kaleigh, the team has also worked to provide a support system for the teachers and staff as classes resumed. “We attended several staff meetings to discuss and help prepare for how the tragedy could impact our students. We also collaborated with the staff to create care packages to ensure every student received something fun on that long-awaited first day of school. We continue to check-in with our students to detect any signs of trauma. For example, we’re intentionally watching and listening to them in the halls, at breakfast and at lunch.”

“I think many of us at school were worried the students would be scared or nervous, but our seventh graders were more worried about opening their lockers and finding their classes,” added Kaleigh. “While I know many of them are dealing with these events in their own ways, being back at school has given them the gift of having something new to focus on.”

According to Kaleigh, the teens are already thinking about their first on-site community service learning project. The students have decided to create a series of short public service announcements to describe Ferguson as they see it. The project is designed to help students reclaim their community, amplify their voice and process their feelings.

Wyman Presents Dr. Dale Blyth, Speaker at the 2014 Saigh Symposium, Oct. 8

Dr. Dale Blyth, Saigh Symposium Speaker

Dr. Dale Blyth, Saigh Symposium Speaker

Introducing Dr. Dale Blyth

Dr. Dale Blyth is one of a panel of national experts, who will speak on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014, during Wyman’s annual symposium titled, “Social Emotional Learning: Funding. Policy. Practice.”

Dr. Blyth’s vast experience includes serving as a Professor and Howland Endowed Chair for Youth Development Leadership at the University of Minnesota, chief of staff for the university president’s Minnesota Commission on Out of School Time, and former leader of the Minnesota 4-H program, which served 130,000 youth annually.

During his work in youth development, Dr. Blyth asks the big question:

“What if communities sought to educate the heart?”

Dr. Blyth believes that social emotional learning is critical in youth development, due to its unique ability to nurture growth and relationships, which are at the heart of youth success.

“Social emotional learning helps teens learn life skills, including how to deal with oneself, how to navigate relationships and how to positively engage in learning.”

During the Saigh Symposium, Dr. Blyth will discuss research about social emotional learning and share his insights on challenges and solutions to support young people, including –

What are 3 social emotional skills every child should have?

“There are no magic three skills but high on my list would be:

“Self-Regulation – because how we manage ourselves is critical to how we see ourselves and are seen by others.

“Empathy – because if we cannot feel what others feel, or begin to understand their perspective, our ability to be in relationships or settings with others is impaired.

“Sense of Agency – because learning our efforts make a difference in whether we succeed, and that we are agents of our own future, is critical to so many aspects of learning and development.”

Why is it important for young people to learn how to appropriately express themselves?

“Helping young people learn how to express themselves to others helps them know themselves – as you cannot express your emotions if you are not aware of them.

“It also helps young people more effectively interact with others. If one cannot appropriately express themselves they are at risk of doing so in very inappropriate ways – ways that can lead to fights, suspensions and disengagement from others.”

What happens when children don’t learn how to express themselves? 

“Often children who do not learn how to express themselves are at risk of: acting out or losing control of their emotions in ways that can have negative social and learning consequences (such as suspensions); or, withdrawing into themselves and possibly becoming depressed or disengaged from others. Managing one’s self-expression enables functional engagement with others and increases progress in pursuing goals.

“These are critical components of youth development and indicators of success.”

The Only People We Cannot Reach Are Those We Refuse To Touch

Hasan Davis is one of a panel of national experts that will speak on Wednesday, October 8, 2014, during Wyman’s annual symposium titled, “Social Emotional Learning: Funding. Policy. Practice.”

According to Davis, “The only people we cannot reach are those we refuse to touch.”

After an early history of social and academic challenges, including learning disabilities, pre-teen arrest and expulsion from alternative school and college, Hasan Davis found the courage to change. He petitioned for re-admission to the college that expelled him twice.

He not only graduated, he received the Navy V-12 award in recognition of his outstanding contributions, graduated from law school, and served in high ranking advisory capacities with the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice and the Federal Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice.

“My blessing was that I was surrounded by family and support systems that provided me with opportunities to get back on track,” adds Davis. “Unfortunately, my circumstances are the exception and not the rule.”

Today, Davis is dedicated to improving the lives of young people. He travels the country providing technical assistance to youth serving organizations and also offers training and resources to correctional facilities, community organizations, schools and non-profit groups nationwide.

During the symposium, Davis will draw upon his education and personal journey while discussing his research, policy work and experience with social emotional learning and its effectiveness with youth.

Seats are filling up fast. To register for this free event, visit: http://wymancenter.org/saighsymposium2014/.

Wyman’s 2014 Saigh Symposium — Social Emotional Learning: Funding. Policy. Practice.

Social Emotional Learning: Funding. Policy. Practice.

Young people learn social emotional skills – positive or negative – no matter what we do. But how do they learn about these skills?

The critical question that we must answer is: How are we being intentional about helping teens develop the positive skills and behaviors vital to their success in life, work and family?

Join Wyman as we address this important issue alongside a panel of national experts, who will discuss their research, policy work and experience with social emotional learning. Panelists will cover why funders are focusing on social emotional learning and the impact of social emotional learning within youth serving sectors.

Wyman’s 2014 Saigh Symposium Panelists:

  • Hannah Baptiste – Program Associate, Susan Crown Exchange
  • Dale A. Blyth, Ph.D. – Extension Professor, Howland Endowed Chair in Youth Leadership Development, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Applied Research & Educational Improvement, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota
  • Hasan Davis – former Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice

Moderator:

  • Amanda Moore McBride, PhD. – Bettie Bofinger Brown Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Social Work, Brown School; Director, Gephardt Institute for Public Service; and Faculty Director, Civic Engagement and Service, Center for Social Development, at Washington University in St. Louis

The event is free and will be followed by a reception with light refreshments.

Registration is now closed.

  • To participate in the live stream, visit:http://americangraduate.ninenet.org/saigh-symposium.
  • The streaming presentation will be avaialble beginning at 3:15 p.m. on Oct. 8.
  • We encourage continuing the conversation with us, @WymanCenter, and sharing the conversation on social media. The hashtag slated for the conversation is #AmGradSTL.

Location: Nine Network of Public Media
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Driving and Parking Directions

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which people learn to recognize and manage their emotions and develop fundamental skills for life effectiveness. Research and practice around SEL seeks to understand how concepts such as agency, grit, resilience, empathy and teamwork play a role in connecting young people to positive futures.

About the Saigh Symposium:

Presented by Wyman Center in partnership with The Saigh Foundation, The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and Incarnate Word Foundation, Wyman’s annual Saigh Symposium fosters education and conversation on topics relevant to moving the field of youth development forward on behalf of teens in our community, region and across the country. The Saigh Symposium is part of the American Graduate Youth Impact Series, helping the St. Louis community support young people in high school graduation and future success.

 

Wyman Reinforces Peaceful Response; Solutions in the Face of St. Louis Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts: Kristin Gumper
Wyman Center
Director, Communication and External Affairs
Kristin.gumper@wymancenter.org
314-630-5459

WYMAN CENTER REINFORCES PEACEFUL RESPONSE;
SOLUTIONS IN THE FACE OF ST. LOUIS CRISIS

St. Louis, MO [Aug. 14, 2014] – Wyman offers the below response in relation to the recent events in St. Louis:

“As a staff and as an organization, our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Michael Brown, as well as the people of Ferguson and surrounding areas. We have lost too many young people in our community due to ongoing violence. These types of events create physical and psychological trauma that lead to a socially toxic environment, and as a community, we need to do whatever it takes to break the cycle,” said David Hilliard, President and CEO of Wyman Center.

“The first step is calling for a peaceful response, and most importantly, supporting the community as residents recover from the rippling effects,” added Hilliard. “We’ve got to address the underlying issues and be prepared to build the future we wish to see. We join with our partner organizations in a united effort to provide parents, educators and community leaders with the resources they need to support children during this tumultuous time.”

The St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund is offering immediate mental health services for children and families impacted by the recent events:

  • The Fund will be providing group crisis support services on Thursday, August 14, 2014. Additional sessions may be added based on the needs of the community. No appointment is necessary. To learn more, visit www.keepingkidsfirst.org.
  • For immediate mental health assistance, County residents are encouraged to contact the St. Louis County Youth Connection Helpline at 314-628-2929. The Helpline is staffed by mental health professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

About Wyman Center
Wyman, a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit and proud member of the United Way, partners with communities to provide teens with the support and opportunities they need to survive and thrive in life. Wyman’s innovative programs are powerful and effective, and the staff is highly acclaimed and committed to preparing today’s youth. For more information, visit www.wymancenter.org, contact Wyman at (636) 938-5245 or e-mail info@wymancenter.org.

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