National Network Spotlight: Health Care Education and Training, Inc.

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.

At Indiana Youth Group (IYG) in Indianapolis, a group of teens participating in Wyman’s TOP® used the community service learning opportunity to do something positive for an organization that has been so supportive of them.

Indian Youth Group TOP Club

The club organized a talent and fashion show in order to raise funds to purchase flooring materials and provide some needed updates to Indiana Youth Group’s drop-in center.

“The youth wanted to give something back to Indiana Youth Group because IYG provides so many wonderful services for them,” Youth Development Specialist Kristopher Posthuma said.

IYG provides safe places and confidential environments where self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth are empowered through programs, support services, and social and leadership opportunities, including TOP®.

Armed with a cause they were passionate about, the club organized a talent and fashion show in order to raise funds to purchase flooring materials and provide some needed updates to the largest room in the organization’s drop-in center.

“They collectively chose to do the projects, and they collectively get to enjoy and see other non-TOP® members enjoy the improvement to the center,” Posthuma said.

He said other youth and leaders of the organization were astounded at what the TOP® teens were able to accomplish and were thankful for the improvements that now benefit the whole community.

In addition to contributing to a community solution, teens were afforded the opportunity to build their own personal skills through the project.

“One of the participants was terrified of public speaking, but really wanted to push herself to get better. She volunteered to be one of the emcees for their talent show [and] was so proud of herself,” Posthuma said, “She did a phenomenal job. She now knows that she can speak in front of a crowd and do a great job.”

Throughout the process, Posthuma said that seeing the students grow and succeed over time in a youth-driven project has been most rewarding.

“We have truly learned the value of what it means to have an activity be youth-driven and youth-led. TOP® is an exercise in trust, and when we trusted the youth to pull through with an event or idea, they excelled and blew our expectations out of the water. They are truly incredible,” Posthuma said.

At IYG, Wyman’s TOP® is made possible by support from National Network partner Health Care Education and Training, Inc. (HCET). HCET works with federal, state and local health departments, and private nonprofit health organizations, like Indiana Youth Group, to improve reproductive and sexual health outcomes in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin; and currently brings TOP® to nearly 200 youth annually.

Improving Outcomes for Youth in St. Louis

The 2013 Saigh Symposium on Teen Development built on our conversation from last year that introduced the idea of “collective impact” to improve the lives of young people through bigger goals, better data, bolder actions, and broader partnerships.

By bringing together a panel of professionals who are engaged in the collective impact process across the country, we offered an insider’s look into how a big picture approach to improving outcomes for youth could impact St. Louis.

Watch the full presentation and conversation in the video player, below, and follow along with this copy of the PowerPoint presentation.

To help us measure our success and continue to improve future conversations, please, take just 10 minutes to give us your honest feedback by completing our survey, if you attended or watched online.

To view photos from the event, visit our Facebook page.


Presented by The Saigh Foundation in partnership with The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, 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. 

Nine Network of Public Media - St. Louis             The Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis           American Graduate - Corporation for Public Broadcasting


October 30: Improving Outcomes for Youth

Saigh Symposium on Teen Development - Improving Youth Outcomes

This year’s Saigh Symposium will build on our conversation from last year that introduced the idea of “collective impact” to improve the lives of young people through bigger goals, better data, bolder actions, and broader partnerships. By bringing together a panel of professionals who are engaged in the collective impact process across the country, we offer an insider’s look into how a big picture approach to improving outcomes for youth could impact St. Louis.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
3:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Nine Network of Public Media
3655 Olive Street
Saint Louis, MO 63108
Reception with light refreshments to follow

Didn’t get tickets? No worries! This event will be streamed live online at and you can join the conversation on Twitter with #AmGradSTL or by commenting on our Facebook page.

Panelists include:

Sue Gallagher
Director of Research Analysis & Planning; Children’s Services Council of Broward County

Sue Gallagher - Children’s Services Council of Broward CountyThe Children’s Services Council of Broward County (CSC) was created by the voters in September of 2000 to provide leadership, advocacy, and funding for services for and on behalf of children. The CSC also provides backbone support for the Broward Children’s Strategic Plan which is partnering with the Broward Schools on the Black Male Success Task Force. Dr. Gallagher provides CSC leadership for the Plan as well as oversees the performance measures for the nearly 200 programs funded by the CSC. Prior to joining the Council in 2007, she worked with people with disabilities for nearly 20 years in residential and vocation settings. She was awarded the Florida International University Excellence in Teaching Award for Adjunct Professors in 2013.

N. Jean Walker, Ph.D.
Vice President, Education | Community Engagement; United Way of Greater Atlanta

Jean Walker - United Way of AtlantaDr. Navella Jean Walker serves as United Way of Greater Atlanta’s vice president of education in the Community Engagement Department. In June 2009, United Way of Greater Atlanta unveiled a new strategic plan aimed at addressing four broad social issues: education, income, health and homelessness. Since July of 2010, Walker has led the Education Team to achieve United Way of Greater Atlanta’s education goal to ensure that children enter school ready to learn; graduate prepared for careers; and avoid risky behaviors. Walker’s career covers a wide range of K-21 experiences including Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in one of the largest school districts in the state of Georgia,  Area Superintendent/Executive Director for School Improvement, as well as Principal and Assistant Principal.

Jairus Cater
Senior at University of Tennessee at Knoxville; Former Co-Chair of Mayor’s Child and Youth Taskforce; Metro Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee

Jairus Cater - Forum for Youth InvestmentJairus Cater, 21, is a student at the University of Tennessee and recently served as a National Youth Ambassador for the White House Council for Community Solutions. Cater found his calling serving those he saw experiencing unemployment, gangs, drug abuse and incarceration in his community. Motivated by attending youth summer programs and community organizing events, his aim is to mobilize youth and help make life better for the disconnected and underprivileged. To work toward his goal, Cater served as Co-Chair of the Nashville Mayor’s Child and Youth Master Plan Taskforce, developing a living document that offers strategies to make Nashville the best city for its youth. He also co-organized Nashville’s Keeping Our Youth March to fight youth violence in the city. As a National Youth Ambassador, Cater also helped incorporate youth voice into national collective impact efforts. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Forum for Youth Investment.


Presented by The Saigh Foundation in partnership with The Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, 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.

American Graduate - Corporation for Public Broadcasting Nine Network of Public Media - St. LouisThe Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis


TOP® Expands into Normandy School District

Beginning this fall, Wyman’s nationally acclaimed Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) will be implemented at Normandy Middle School in St. Louis County.

Wyman's Teen Outreach Program at Brittany Woods Middle School

The entire seventh grade at Brittany Woods Middle School in University City has participated in TOP® during the school day since 2011, and have demonstrated impressive progress in behavioral and academic outcomes.

In partnership with Beyond Housing’s 24:1 Community Building Initiative – an innovative project created to solve the challenges facing residents and communities within the Normandy School District – Wyman’s TOP® will be incorporated into social studies classes for both the 6th and 7th grades, comprised of students from elementary schools across 24 municipalities.

“With a lot of teens coming from a variety of elementary schools, we want to work through the dynamics of that and work towards a school pride rather than a municipality pride – bringing the Normandy community together and making it one,” Katrina Peoples, Senior Director of Wyman Center St. Louis, said.

In the coming school year, teens will meet once per week and participate in classroom-based discussions and interactive learning around key topics related to adolescent health and development. In addition, they will engage with their community in quarterly service learning projects that are created by the students and led by caring and committed adult facilitators.

With guidance from the experiences and success of in-school integration of TOP® at Brittany Woods Middle School in University City, Wyman aims to help teens at Normandy Middle School learn self-control, communication skills, how to set and achieve goals, and serve their community. By providing supports and opportunities for young people to build life skills and make healthy choices, the program reduces course failure, school dropout, teen pregnancy, violence, and other risky behavior that can have long-term negative consequences in a young person’s life.

“We want to make sure we are present, visible, and always accessible for teens. Our ultimate goal is to be a service to the school and the community at large. We hope to do that through the partnership with Beyond Housing, the 24:1 Initiative, teachers, parents and students,” Peoples said.


The 24:1 Initiative is an innovative, development project, created to solve the challenges facing residents and communities within the Normandy School District. The result is the 24:1 Initiative, twenty-four municipalities with one vision: strong communities, engaged families and successful children.

The local expansion of Wyman’s TOP® into Normandy Middle School is proudly supported by Express Scripts.



Bid on Amazing Items to Support Wyman Teens!

33rd Annual Wyman Golf Tournament

This year, we opened up the silent auction at our 33rd Annual Golf Tournament to the public. You DO NOT need to golf or be at the tournament to participate! But you do need to act fast, because bidding closes at 6:30 PM on Monday, August 19th.

Sign up now from your smart phone and bid on a variety of trips, sporting events, fine wines, and unique experiences including:

  • Plaza-level tickets for a St. Louis Blues game which include a behind-the-scenes tour and a ride on the Zamboni;
  • Cardinals tickets with an on-field experience during batting practice, and an inning in the broadcast booth with Al Hrabosky;
  • Exclusive bow, firearm, and fishing experiences in Hermann, Missouri
  • Unique and exclusive wines;
  • Golf outings at Old Warson and St. Albans;
  • and more!

All proceeds from the golf tournament and the silent and live auctions help teens from low-resource environments lead successful lives and build strong communities.If you have any questions about the auction or the tournament, please contact David Lauber at

Happy bidding!

Avoiding “Summer Melt”

St. Louis Graduates High School to College Center

St. Louis Graduates’ High School to College Center opened June 1st, and will provide support to seniors finalizing college plans all summer.

When the last bell rings signaling the start of summer, the structure of a youth’s life changes drastically from a full day of activity to, sometimes, an overwhelming amount of free time. For those teens heading off to college, the summer before their freshman year is a crucial time to prepare for a new chapter in life. While efforts are underway to improve college access and degree completion for low-income students, one aspect that has eluded policymakers and teachers is the phenomenon known as “summer melt.”

Summer melt occurs between high school graduation and the beginning of college, when many enrolled teens, especially those coming from low economic areas, simply do not make it to campus on the first day of class. According to an article in the New England Journal of Higher Education, “while college admissions officers have been aware of summer melt for at least a decade, low-income high school graduates are quite susceptible to having their college plans change during the summer months following graduation.”

The causes of summer melt are diverse, including insufficient financial aid, incomplete paperwork, missed deadlines, new and confusing paperwork, and a lack of social and emotional support from family and friends. Some students hesitate to give up their current situation for the uncertainties of college, even if in the long-term they would likely benefit from higher education.

During the school year, these issues are alleviated by the availability of college counselors and teachers who help keep students on track by answering questions, prompting students to meet deadlines and keeping them motivated. Unfortunately, when summer hits, teens are often left alone with a lot of unanswered questions. Research indicates that providing college-bound high school graduates with additional support during the summer months has a significant and positive impact on attendance in the fall by keeping them on track and empowered.

To alleviate summer melt, a local nonprofit network, St. Louis Graduates, is piloting a High School to College Center for students transitioning from high school into post-secondary education. Operated day-to-day through collaborations with local volunteers and organizations, including Wyman, the drop-in center will be open daily throughout the summer and give students the opportunity to meet with professional college counselors, figure out financial aid, find housing, complete necessary paperwork, access computers and printers and address any other problems that may arise during the summer.

Local collaborations, like this one, are a powerful way to support  teens to success. Learn more about St. Louis Graduates’ High School to College Center at

Free Help for St. Louis Seniors Entering College

New Center in St. Louis Will Help Students Go from High School to CollegeThe transition from high school to college can be daunting! That’s why, this summer, St. Louis Graduates is opening the St. Louis Graduates High School to College Center where students can get free counseling in the Delmar Loop. Students will be encouraged to come into the Center, but assistance will also be available via phone and e-mail.

National research shows that 10% of students who graduate high school with an acceptance to college will not actually enroll, a phenomenon referred to as “summer melt.” A survey of St. Louis area counselors found that one-third of their students are at risk. The goal for the High School to College Center is to prevent summer melt and help more students enroll in college and ultimately persist to a degree.

“Having an acceptance letter or financial aid award letter can give the mistaken impression that all a student needs to do is show up on campus in the fall,” notes Faith Sandler, Executive Director of The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis and Co-chair of St. Louis Graduates. “[The Center] will help students through the steps they need to take to ensure their financial aid is in place, they are enrolled in classes, and they are ready to go in August.”

WHERE: 618 N. Skinker Blvd. in the Delmar Loop
WHEN: Open daily 12 Noon to 5 p.m., June 1st through August 18th

St. Louis area students can visit the free St. Louis Graduates High School to College Center if they are recent high school graduates and:

  • Need assistance with financial aid, where to live and how to get to college,
  • Are having trouble accessing the college online enrollment and course registration system, or
  • Need help completing necessary paperwork.

The Center will tailor its counseling to students who recently graduated from high school, have plans in place to continue their education, and have questions over the summer and aren’t quite sure where to turn. The Center is designed to work primarily with low-income and/or first-generation college-going students. All services are offered free of charge.

“We want to make sure that all students who are enrolled in college for the fall have the information, encouragement and guidance they need to make it to campus. We launched the Center because we believe there are potentially thousands of students who don’t make it to campus, despite their best intentions,” said Jane Donahue, Vice President of the Deaconess Foundation and Co-chair of St. Louis Graduates.

Phone: (314) 932-6956
Twitter:  @STLGraduates

Participating counselors include representatives of Wyman Center, College Summit, Missouri College Advising Corps, St. Louis Community College and The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis as well as individual counselors from several area high schools, nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions.

Vote NOW to Help Teens Explore Their Future!

If making a difference was as easy as a click, you’d do it, right? I thought so. Lucky for you, Wyman is participating in Monsanto’s Grow St. Louis Contest, now until Sunday May 19th. Won’t you help us?

Your participation is KEY in helping us secure $20,000 to support 68 rising high school juniors in Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program, as they embark on a 10-day college tour to explore admissions, financial aid, academic expectations and residential life at a number of regional institutions.

Voting takes place at from May 6 through May 19. Simply “Like” Grow St. Louis on Facebook, click “Vote Here” and search and vote for Wyman’s “Exploring Our Future” project, daily. It’s that easy!

Teen Leadership Program College Tour

Rising juniors in Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program embarked on a 10-day college tour to explore their future, last summer.

The tour will enable teens to explore such schools as Southeast Missouri State, Missouri State University, Fisk University, Ranken Technical College, University of Central Missouri, among others. It is a crucial experience for TLP teens, giving them the opportunity to see themselves in various college environments, and make informed, positive decisions about their future.

This is an opportunity to have a voice in choosing projects you think will most help Grow St. Louis. We hope you’ll support us by voting for our entry – and spread the word to all your friends and family members to vote for us, too! 

Share Positive Stories About Teens

Help Change the Conversation about Teens

Wyman teens took to the streets of their neighborhood to share positive messages about causes they care about. Sharing positive stories about youth can contribute to their positive development.

At the Regional Youth Violence Prevention forum, teens from across the community shared their insights on what would make a difference in reducing violence in St. Louis. One unanimous request from teens:

“Validate what we do well, and share positive stories about teens.”

Their words echo the research, and ring true in every community. Holding and supporting young people to high expectations is a powerful and necessary contributor to their positive development, while low expectations and assumptions are leading risk factors for negative behavior. In other words, consistent and negative press and discussions about teenagers will only exacerbate the problem.

Together, let’s change the conversation! At Wyman, we personally know hundreds of young people in St. Louis, who are doing great things for themselves and their communities. We know tens of thousands of teens across the country in Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) that are rising above their circumstances and achieving some truly amazing things:

In recent weeks, a group of teens in Wyman’s TOP® spent a day with children in a local day care, leading them in activities, singing songs, playing games, and being great mentors and role models. Meanwhile, their classmates were busy preparing for an upcoming service project, in which they’ll conduct conservation projects with grade school students.

Another group provided structured activities and lots of Valentine’s Day fun for students at an early childhood education center while parents participated in the school’s PTO meeting. Their consistency in volunteering to provide childcare at this school has significantly increased parent participation in PTO meetings!

We’re immensely proud of the contributions and success of Wyman teens. And like these young people, many others are being productive, giving back, and are positively engaged in their communities.

Do you know someone who needs to hear about the great contributions teens make in our community?  Please pass this along, or share another positive story about a teen you know!

Email it to us, share it on our Facebook page or tweet it using #realteens!

Together, we can support and encourage teens to make a real difference, and it can start by acknowledging and rewarding their success

Invest in Youth from Cradle to Career

A report released by America’s Promise Alliance entitled “Every Child, Every Promise: Turning Failure into Action” presents a compelling case that once you start investing in a child’s life, you shouldn’t stop!

Every Child Every Promise - Full Report_Page_01Using research from economists James Heckman and Flavio Cunha, the report cites that investing in a young person’s childhood is important, but we must continue to invest in children throughout adolescence to see the greatest return academically, socially and economically. “Long term success will likely fall well short of expectations without continued investment throughout elementary and teenage years,” Wyman’s President/CEO Dave Hilliard said.

The research suggests that cognitive and non-cognitive skills are very important to lead a successful life. While cognitive learning is developed in early childhood, non-cognitive skills are not defined until teenage years. As both these skills contribute to higher achievement, it is imperative that investment is made throughout both stages of life.

Among disadvantaged populations particularly, their simulations show insufficient investments after early childhood, would lead to only 41% graduating high school, fewer than 5% attending college, more that 40% incurring criminal records and almost 20% receiving welfare. Conversely, with continued investment through high school, 85% would graduate high school, college going would increase to 27% and welfare dependency would drop by half.  Investing longer-time in a child is beneficial for our society as a whole.

Reliable, cost-effective investments in children and youth are necessary to keep America competitive in a global economy. We must cultivate a better prepared workforce with the necessary skills to be competitive. To secure our nation’s quality of life and economic vitality, we must establish policies and invest in the necessary supports and opportunities for all young people from cradle to career.