Be Deliciously Generous on November 25

Katie's Pizza Giveback Tuesday LogoWhile the festive day we expected to have with Wyman supporters will be tempered by last night’s events, please know that we will still gather at Katie’s Pizza & Pasta today to benefit Wyman teens. We hope you’ll keep your plans and join us to share thoughts and concerns over a meal with friends, while supporting a cause that can help change the future for young people locally and nationwide.

Be Deliciously Generous Tuesday, November 25, at Katie’s Pizza and Pasta

The entire day’s profits will support Wyman’s teen development programs!

Open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
9568 Manchester Road, Rock Hill, MO 63119

Come Any Time
Or Visit Our Special Hosts:

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
David Hilliard, President and CEO of Wyman
EricKirberg, President of The Kirberg Company
Bill Arnold, Business Development Manager of Stifel-Nicolaus

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Keat Wilkins, President & Co-Founder, Sense Corp
John Myers, Senior Executive; Broker Development, Aflac

Pizza photo

About Katie’s Pizza:
A one of a kind experience with the best handcrafted food in St. Louis.
Beautiful artisan pasta in all shapes and colors dries on racks throughout the restaurant.
View the open kitchen and old Italian films on the back wall along with two living green walls. Or, hang out at the bar and enjoy wood fired appetizers, craft cocktails, 12 beers on tap, or Italian wine.

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


Contacts: Kristin Gumper
Wyman Center
Director, Communication and External Affairs


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
  • 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, contact Wyman at (636) 938-5245 or e-mail


National Network Spotlight: Seasons of Change, 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.

In 2013, the annual Texas Gang Threat Assessment reported that gang activity is growing in the state with more than 100,000 members in more than 2,500 individual groups. The area most impacted by these groups is in Dallas-Fort Worth.

This is the climate in which Seasons of Change, Inc. operates and creates successes. They implemented Wyman’s TOP® to develop a system of encouragement, life skills training, team building activities, group discussions, education, and community service that benefits both gang and non-gang affiliated clients.

Imagine taking a group of teenagers to a local park to clean up trash. Now make a number of the young people members of rival gangs who, at the beginning of the day, refuse to work together or even get off the bus. Through Seasons of Change, these teens eventually learn to work side-by-side with their former rivals and see the good that they can achieve together.

Helping young gang members open up about their lives and complicated personal issues is easier said than done, but Nathan Anguiano, Project Director for Seasons of Change, has some advice from her experience and successes.

“You have to build relationships,” says Anguiano. “You have to gain their trust and treat them all the same. Enforce rules and discipline but be willing to bend a little when necessary. Show a concern in how they’re doing every day and, in time, they will be completely open with you. This is how you can help them, this is how you can build leaders out of them.”

The impact that Seasons of Change has can be illustrated by one young client who was dismissed from his school because of on-campus gang activity. He requested through his principal that he be able to keep attending TOP® classes because he said, “I need them in my life. I need them to continue to teach me about making better choices so that I can better my life.”

Organizers point to how students bond over personal stories and realize that despite the fact they are from different gangs, they go through the many of same experiences and share the common goal of graduating.

Through TOP®’s community service lessons, students begin to think outside of themselves. The positive results make them more eager to give back to the community. One seventeen year old student said: “TOP® helped me to actually feel loved.”

National Network Spotlight: Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center

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.

Sometimes the future success of a student shines so brightly that you can identify them as early as elementary school – even if they’ve struggled to reach their full potential and even if they’ve been labeled as at risk.

In the spring of 2009, staff members of the Susanna Wesley Family Learning Center (SWFLC) saw the potential in 10 students attending sixth grade in East Prairie, MO.  The team began working with the young people four days per week on their homework, goal planning, and participation in activities that would form bonds to provide them with peer support as they advanced through school.

“These were clearly outstanding students who had leadership qualities.  They just needed some extra attention,” says Marsha Hutchason, program director at SWFLC.

The group incorporated Wyman’s TOP® into their curriculum starting in their freshman year and felt that it was an important part of their continued academic success, especially because of the encouragement and guidance they received about making responsible social choices.

“Many of my friends started participating in questionable activities in their personal lives and I’m not certain I would have resisted the peer pressure if not for TOP®,” said one student.

Other students reported that TOP® provided a sense of belonging and acceptance among like-minded students.

Flash forward to high school graduation when the valedictorian and two co-salutatorians in the class are all members of TOP®.  Every one of the participants is headed to college in the fall.

“This was an amazing group of students.  We can’t wait to see what the future holds for them,” Hutchason said.

National Network Spotlight: Smith Community Mental Health

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.

In Broward County, Florida, Smith Community Mental Health (SCMH) helps teens with behavioral health issues overcome personal obstacles and change their lives for the better. They serve 80 teens from at risk environments each year and use Wyman’s TOP® program for more than teaching essential life skills—it is also an excellent chance to help better their community.

“I feel TOP® has positively influenced the teens’ choices by giving them a safe environment where they feel free to discuss difficult topics openly,” said Brooke Tenenbaum, program manager. “Our teens have learned a number of life lessons like the importance of helping others, being able to have safe and healthy domestic relationships, practicing safe sex, speaking up for themselves, and how tBroward 5o work well with peers for a common goal.“

The program has also educated the teens about the importance of helping others in the community.  Community service projects have included suicide prevention activities and beach cleanup projects.

One of the most meaningful activities that the group has participated in was a feeding the homeless project during the winter months.  Following their day of volunteering, the teens and facilitators sat down together at a restaurant for a “family meal” – an unusual experience for many of the young people.  While they enjoyed their food, the teens began to open up about their personal experiences with homelessness.

“It was very powerful to hear our youth describe their own struggles after a day of helping others. Some of them still face the problem of homelessness, but they gave their time to help others,” said Tenebaum.

Tenenbaum finds it touching to see the teens form the kind of relationships they likely wouldn’t have in their lives without TOP®.Broward 4

“Seeing how engaged the youth become and how trusting they are with the facilitators and other peers in the groups is my favorite part. This is why it’s so beneficial that our staff is made up of various professionals that are experienced with at-risk youth,” she said.

Tenenbaum and  the staff widely agree that TOP® has touched the lives of participating teens as well as the community.  The teens have been very vocal that they feel blessed to have the program as a source of help and a personal refuge.  Broward 6

National Network Spotlight: Community Action Corporation of South Texas

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.

Community Action Corporation of South Texas (CACOST) is a non-profit organization that aims to improve their region by providing high quality health care, education, employment and economic opportunities.

south texasCACOST implemented Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program (TOP®) in January 2013 in an effort to educate area teens about making healthy choices and leading successful lives. TOP® lessons were facilitated to 427 youth on a weekly basis in six school districts through the months of September 2013 to May 2014. Youth participants were engaged in numerous service learning projects during this period and completed a cumulative total of 2,957 community service hours during this time.

CACOST’S Youth Development Coordinator and Director April Anzaldua feels it was an awe-inspiring experience to see students discussing and expressing their perspective about issues teens are facing in school.

“TOP® lessons encourage youth to weigh their options based on the three C’s: Challenge, Choice and Consequences. Given a sense of responsibility, the teens became proactive in their decisions when it came to their day-to-day activities,” said Anzaldua.

One of the most meaningful parts of TOP® for these Texas TOP® teens was their involvement in Community Service Learning.  Youth participants were engaged in numerous service learning projects during this period and completed a cumulative total of 2,957 Community Service Learning hours.  Anzaldua shared the experience of one TOP® club’s Community Service Learning project, a community park revitalization project:

“The Teen Outreach Program® has influenced our teens by examining their individual conceptions of what a community service learning project is and reflecting their own ideas of a community service learning project that is outside the stereotypical clean-up. The teens in Ben Bolt-Palito Blanco ISD decided that a park clean-up was not merely enough for their town. The teens had an inner passion and civic duty to revitalize their community park. With the guidance of the facilitators, the youth hosted teen dances and concession stands to raise money to purchase equipment for a volleyball court, set up a basketball hoop, and build picnic tables for their community. The Teen Outreach Program® offered the youth in the rural community of Ben Bolt to allow their voices to be heard and make a positive difference in their community.  The community park revitalization project created great enthusiasm and pride for the teens of Ben Bolt.  The teens felt a sense of accomplishment from start to finish.  From March 2013 to April 2014, what seemed like a dream at first became a reality for the teens on April 5, 2014, when the TOP® Club named ‘The Family’ came together with their community to celebrate their achievements.”


CACOST’s facilitators found that they have a lot to learn from the teens as well. Staff was able to get a first-hand perspective on the teens’ attitudes and learn more about the issues they face in their region.

The TOP® sessions were so successful for CACOST that they elected to continue the program at all existing sites as well as add a new school district in January 2014.  The addition of Mathis Independent School District means the program will reach 60 additional youth throughout rural South Texas.




Wyman Named SCE Partner

SCE mastheadWyman is pleased to announce that it was selected as one of eight nationwide organizations that will partner with the Susan Crown Exchange to be a part of their Social and Emotional Learning Challenge.

For the next 18 months, these eight informal learning programs for teens—ranging from a wooden boat building program in Philadelphia to a performing arts/community action hub in New York City to Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program—will explore best practices in social and emotional learning.

The initiative aims to elevate the importance of social and emotional learning through an intensive effort with a notable cohort of teen programs. The finalists were chosen from among 250 youth organizations, making this an exceptional group of youth programs that have shown striking results in their work.

The collaboration teams up SCE partners with a research team from the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, where they will look at and learn from the programs and then pass on results to youth organizations across the country. They will focus on identifying the best practices for equipping the young people with the social and emotional skills of resilience, empathy, agency, self-regulation and grit. The ultimate goal is to provide the next generation with the tools they need to thrive in the 21st century.

About SCE and the Social and Emotional Learning Challenge

SCE is a social investment organization that connects talent and innovation with market forces to drive social change. Their newly launched Social and Emotional Learning Program reimagines education as a broad and rich ecosystem for learning, anytime, anywhere.

The Social and Emotional Learning Challenge aims to distill and codify the practices of the SEL field’s best programs for teens to elevate the impact and importance of social and emotional learning.

Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program Celebrates Senior Class

Blog post by Bryan Capers, College and Community Program Manager for Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program.

On Friday, April 18th, more than seventy supporters of Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program (TLP) came together to celebrate the high school graduations and accomplishments of our TLP seniors.


Missouri State Scholarship recipients Alexis Creamer and Jalen Baker pictured with TLP Director Tim Kjellesvik

Thirty of the 63 graduates joined us with their families to eat a hearty meal, receive certificates of recognition and hear words of encouragement from Wyman’s President and CEO, Dave Hilliard.

One of the highlights of the night was “counting coup,” a traditional TLP observation when participants share their accounts of the program’s impact on their lives, families and communities at large.

The ceremony also included presentations from Jalen Baker and Alexis Creamer, two full-ride scholarship recipients in Wyman’s Scholars program. Baker and Creamer each received a four-year scholarship to Missouri State University.

scholarshipIn addition, each year the Saigh Foundation provides a $1,000 scholarship to a Wyman teen who is committed to community service, has exhibited outstanding academic achievement and demonstrates leadership and active participation in Wyman’s TLP. Andre Block Jr. was awarded the $1,000 Saigh Young Leader Award.

After high school graduation, our teens will transition into Wyman’s College Persistence Program, the final two years of the program. During these two years, they will receive continued social, emotional and institutional support from Wyman.

Much success to our seniors as they transition into their post-secondary endeavors!
Class of 2014 teens_1

National Network Spotlight: Colorado Youth Matter

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.

Colorado Youth Matter (CYM) initiated the Colorado Network for Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® in 2011 to make TOP® more accessible for organizations throughout Colorado. A state-wide organization committed to youth sexual health and access to opportunity for all young people, the organization now supports 23 TOP® clubs serving 350 youth in total. CYM plans to see TOP® continue to grow and reach more youth in need this year.

IMG_5681“TOP® helps our teens make better choices because it gives them two things: the knowledge needed to make informed decisions and the confidence in their own critical thinking to make decisions in their own best interest,” Stefanie Winfield, Colorado Youth Matter’s evaluation manager said.

According to CYM facilitators, the TOP® participants enjoy the emotional safety of club and appreciate feeling like their words have value. The teens experience empowerment from the knowledge they gain about healthy relationships, leadership and sexual health.

“I love that TOP® is a safe place for teens to express themselves. This freedom provides a unique opportunity for them to talk through who they are and what they stand for. Their “Ah-ha!” moments when they discover something new about themselves or see something from a new perspective is incredibly rewarding to witness,” one facilitator said.

For many facilitators in Colorado’s Youth Matter Network, one of the best things about TOP® is how easy the program is to implement. The curriculum allows facilitators to plan out three months in advance, as well as adapt their lessons to the language and experiences of the youth being served. This ease of implementation also permits flexibility in the recruiting process, opportunities for facilitators to offer incentives for club attendance and field trips similar to community service learning activities that engage young people who may possibly join TOP® in the future.

Colorado Youth Matter’s network partners have gained a lot from TOP®. Through TOP®, facilitators connect to and work with organizations in Colorado that are committed to providing positive youth development and community engagement across the state. By developing an encouraging rapport between the young people and their communities, TOP® also fosters hope and pride in communities across Colorado.

Implementing Collective Impact to Ensure Community Returns

Teen Leadership Program alumnaeAt a recent Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program alumni gathering, 21 young adults gathered to reminisce, laugh, share, and dine together. Over the course of an evening, they shared their journeys through college and even graduate school, their stories of persistence in spite of obstacles, their jobs and job searches, and their service to our country through the military. Throughout the conversations, each teen expressed goals that affirmed their commitment to and passion for service to others.

Each story of service was unique. One alum is preparing to volunteer for a service trip to New Orleans, where she will provide relief after Hurricane Karina. She had already provided support after Hurricane Sandy, and desires to continue to give back to hurricane-affected communities. Another alum is applying for Teach for America after college graduation, while a third is a Golden Apple Scholar in Illinois, and is dedicated to becoming a middle school math teacher for struggling schools. A fourth alum was selected to participate in a national leadership program in Washington DC, which has linked him to local and state policy efforts in Missouri. A fifth passionately continues to advance her career and studies in work with children and youth, as well as her poetry as a means of expression and sharing. And the list goes on and on.

In planning for their future, these alumni are wonderful examples of how, with proper supports, all young people can achieve success. Since 2002, Saint Louis
area community leaders, corporations, foundations, and the local United Way have invested in Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program teens. By working together to provide cross-functional supports, the providers in our community made intentional investments in the futures of these young people.

Because of these investments, each young person had supportive and caring adult relationships throughout his or her teen years, opportunities to learn how to successfully lead others, a sense of belonging with a positive peer group, a focus on their future and their abilities, challenging educational experiences, and the chance to give back in service to their community. And in return, they showed us what can happen. While their successes are each their own, they remind us that when communities make intentional, consistent investments in the growth and development of children and teens, good things happen. That is a return on investment we at Wyman are committed to pursuing, nationwide.