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.
“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.