National Network Partner Spotlight: Delta Family Services

Family Services Logo (png)Partner Background:
In 1995, Delta Community Supports Inc. created a Family Services division that began offering foster care services to children, youth and families. In addition to general foster care, Delta offers kinship, medical, treatment and supervised independent living programs. Delta’s caring, loving and innovative approach has enabled the organization to become a model for other agencies.

In 2013, Delta created a Quality Improvement Project in an effort to better serve teens. Through extensive research, the staff discovered Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®). The partnership launched in July 2014 as Wyman’s first certified replication partner in Pennsylvania.

In just three months, the program has multiplied the energy and excitement of the teens. Most importantly, facilitators and teens have formed close, cohesive relationships.

How many teens do you/do you plan to serve?
Carmen Davenport, Delta’s Associate Director of TOP: We offer three TOP clubs, which serve 82 teens. By September 2015, the program will expand to serve approximately 400 teens in various settings.

How do you deliver TOP?
Carmen: Although all three of Delta’s clubs are currently provided in high schools, it is our goal to deliver TOP in additional settings, which include:

  • Afterschool settings, such as recreation centers, the YMCA, etc.
  • Truancy programs.
  • Residential/group homes.
  • In partnership with the judicial system, so that TOP is used as a diversionary program for courts and police districts.

What excites you about TOP?
Carmen: We are excited about the endless possibilities of a diverse youth development program that spans across education and socioeconomic status. The support that Delta has received during our 40+ meetings is remarkable, and hopefully, the result will be more partnerships!

National Network Partner Spotlight: Hope for Miami

Hope for Miami is a coalition of several organizations in Miami-Dade County working  to connect youth to effective programs, resources and volunteer opportunities, with the mission of seeing the young people and the community will thrive. For three years, Hope for Miami has delivered the Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) as one of four prevention programs that promote positive youth development and reflect the coalition’s core values.

TOP is in alignment with one of the coalition’s core values that youth work should not patronize. They have observed that allowing teens’ voices to be heard prevents a multitude of destructive behaviors.

“TOP allows our students to explore their thought processes in a safe, non-judgmental environment. Students express their views and think through their choices, allowing them to step back and see the many different possible outcomes that their decisions can bring. Teachers and principals have commented on what a difference the curriculum has made. They have seen the number of in school fights decrease, grades improve, and suspension rates decrease among TOP students,” said Chedena Hayes, Community Program Coordinator. “One of our teens shared that the program helps him to ‘know what to do in a real world setting.'”

This year, Hope for Miami plans to deliver TOP to 1,150 middle and high school youth in Miami-Dade County. Clubs are currently running at Andover Middle School and iMater Academy; however, they have received such positive feedback from the community that requests are coming in from all over Miami-Dade County for TOP to be brought to their schools. “I think that these requests speak to the professionalism of our facilitators and the effectiveness of the TOP Curriculum,” said Hayes.

Hayes attributes a large part of the program’s success to community service learning projects. She stated that the projects give students a chance to identify passions and gives them the opportunity to become involved in creating solutions to issues particular to their community. Most recently, students from Andover Middle did a school campus make-over project.

“Students spent months planning designs for a mural, choosing the garden location, and creating slogans and designs for trash cans. Then they showed up in great numbers to clean and decorate their campus. It was amazing. There was a need, and the students chose to meet it!  The youth were actually smiling while picking up trash.  As facilitators, we encouraged them by reminding them that Andover was their school, which made it their responsibility to preserve the grounds. We challenged them to leave a legacy for the classes that would come after them, and they did. That campus looks amazing now!”

Through programs like TOP, Hope for Miami would like to see their Miami-Dade County community become a place where everyone – individuals, families, neighborhoods, institutions, organizations, businesses and even the environment – is knit together like threads in a tapestry to create healthy, flourishing neighborhoods.

Wyman Center Offers Implementation-Ready Teen Health Programs for Office of Adolescent Health Grants

WYMAN CENTER OFFERS IMPLEMENTATION-READY TEEN HEALTH PROGRAMS FOR OFFICE OF ADOLESCENT HEALTH GRANTS

Learn More at http://teenoutreachprogram.com/ 

Contact: Kristin Gumper
Wyman Center
Director, Communication and External Affairs
Kristin.Gumper@wymancenter.org
www.TeenOutreachProgram.com
314-346-4042

St. Louis, MO [Jan. 12, 2015] – The Office of Adolescent Health (OAH) has announced several new grant opportunities to fund proven programs that fight teen pregnancy, while promoting positive youth development and engaging the community. Grant submissions are due beginning April 1.

Wyman Center, a national nonprofit that provides tools and training to transform teens and communities, offers the Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) for those interested in completing a grant submission. TOP is an implementation-ready youth development program that builds teen leadership and resilience while reducing risky behaviors.

Through the work of more than 300 providers in 34 states, TOP is one of the most successful, cost-effective and highly respected programs for teens nationally.

TOP lowers teen pregnancy while improving student performance.
• 53 percent lower risk of teen pregnancy.
• 52 percent lower risk of suspension.
• 60 percent lower risk of class failure.
• 60 percent lower risk of dropout.

TOP addresses a national epidemic:
• Children of teen parents are more likely to become teen parents themselves, dropout of school and live a life of poverty.
• Dropouts are more than eight times as likely to be in jail or prison, and there are approximately 1.2 million high school dropouts in the U.S. each year.
• The country would save approximately $17 billion in healthcare costs over the lifetimes of each class of dropouts had they earned their diplomas.

“Choices like dropping out of school and teen pregnancy lead to lifelong consequences for teens – and for society,” said Joe Miller, Wyman’s Senior Vice President of Partnerships and External Affairs. “The secret of our success is that the program addresses the root of the issue – supporting not only teens, but the educators and systems that surround teens.”

During the last round of teen pregnancy grant offerings by OAH, 18 organizations successfully received funding by working in collaboration with Wyman. These partners have witnessed results at the teen level, and also have reported that the training they’ve received has built their capacity as educators, helped them ignite system-level change and helped them improve teen and adult relationships.

Several success stories of TOP in action can be found on the OAH website, including:
• Changing the Odds in the Bronx: According to OAH, the program “Made students more likely to use a condom (70 percent), to use birth control (58 percent), and less likely to have sex (47 percent). The program also helped students “make good choices about their health and well-being (86 percent of 6th graders and 86 percent of 9th graders).”
• Increasing Self-Confidence and School Safety through Community Service at Planned Parenthood of the Greater Northwest.
• Using Text Messaging to Reduce Teen Pregnancies with Denver Health and Hospital Authority.

Packaged in four levels for each developmental stage from 6th to 12th grade, TOP helps teens build a foundation of healthy behaviors, life skills and a sense of purpose. TOP combines a unique blend of:
• Implementation-ready engaging curriculum.
• Interactive youth forums.
• The opportunity to build social emotional skills critical to lifelong success, like self-awareness, empathy, communication, leadership and resilience.
• Positive adult guidance.
• Opportunities for teens to sharpen their newfound skills during community service learning hand-selected by each TOP group.

Over 16 million children live in poverty. In the last five years, Wyman has served 125,000 teens in collaboration with its partners.

To learn more about how to implement TOP in your community and begin an application for OAH funding, visit Wyman’s new website, www.TeenOutreachProgram.com. The site also houses TOP case studies, sample curriculum, research and partner benefits.

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. Originally founded in 1898, Wyman’s mission is to enable teens from economically disadvantaged circumstances to lead successful lives and build strong communities.

Offered by more than 65 partners and 300 providers, TOP is recognized as a proven best practice program by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Adolescent Health and the U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, among other organizations. For more information on TOP, visit www.TeenOutreachProgram.com.

National Network Partner Spotlight: Connecticut Department of Social Services

Connecticut Department of Social Services Top Picture_in the classroomThe Connecticut Department of Social Services joined Wyman’s National Network in 2010. Currently, TOP® is being implemented in two schools in New Haven, one school in West Haven, and one school in Bridgeport, which serves approximately 200 urban students, ages 13-17, during the day.

Asia Goubourn, Connecticut’s TOP facilitator and director, shared their approach to implementing TOP. “We believe in teamwork, and have been able to pair the two facilitators working in middle schools and the two facilitators working in high schools,” said Goubourn. “While each facilitator is primarily responsible for one school, the co-facilitation results in a great synergy between the two facilitators and more attention for each student.”

According to Goubourn, the curriculum inspires teens to discuss real life situations where they can apply TOP. “My favorite part of the program is witnessing group discussions, seeing progress outside of TOP, and experiencing new and improved interactions among the students.”

“Because of topics like decision making in the Wyman’s Changing Scenes© curriculum, many of our students have found themselves making better and more informed decisions about who to befriend,” added Goubourn. “We’ve noticed that the information students receive from the curriculum is often instantly applied to their lives and current situations.”Connecticut Department of Social Services Side Picture (2)

At Barnard Environmental Magnet School, Henry Green, a facilitator, did a lesson on decision making/conflict resolution. The next day, a male student thanked him. “My TOP student explained that earlier that morning, he was being encouraged to fight, but the conflict resolution discussion played over and over in his head,” explained Green. “Instead of fighting, the student went directly to the main office and got help.”

Goubourn offers others in the Network words of encouragement: “We believe that there is hope for the future. No matter where the students come from, with the right influence and guidance, they have the ability to overcome all obstacles. We encourage those who have the privilege of implementing TOP to continue to show compassion and empathy for their students, because the students really value and appreciate our passion and dedication.”

Wyman Calls for Community Collaboration and Peaceful Response Following Grand Jury Decision

WYMAN CALLS FOR COMMUNITY COLLABORATION
AND PEACEFUL RESPONSE FOLLOWING GRAND JURY DECISION

Media Contact:
Kristin Gumper
Director, Communication and External Affairs
Kristin.Gumper@WymanCenter.org
314-346-4042

St. Louis, MO [Nov. 24, 2014] – Wyman offers the below response to the community turmoil and events that have followed the death of Michael Brown.

“We acknowledge the frustration, tension, anger, pain and hardship that people are feeling all across the region,” said David Hilliard, President and CEO of Wyman Center. “We support those calling for peaceful protests and make our commitment to support responses that can put an end to injustice, as well as racial and economic discrimination and community violence from wherever it emanates.

“What we do as a region can redefine a generation. If we get it right, it will set the stage for a brighter future long-term,” added Hilliard. “We are committed to working alongside our neighbors to build the community our young people deserve. As a youth development organization, we’re laser focused on providing young people with the tools and training they need to take part in that dialogue and shape the future they wish to see.”

At present, Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) and Teen Leadership Program (TLP) serve youth across north St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis, with the largest number of youth served in Ferguson-Florissant, Normandy and University City schools.

In the field, at a local and national scale, Wyman is:

  • Equipping teens with the tools they need to have a voice, interact empathetically, and meaningfully engage at a social and civic level.
  • Researching programs and identifying best practices that successfully incorporate young people into conversations about their future.
  • Being present at the school-level to listen and provide both classroom and one-on-one support to students, educators and administrators.
  • Providing program staff with resources to connect young people to trauma support.
  • Hosting listening sessions with young people and staff to understand the real-time challenges young people and educators are facing.
  • Working openly with others to have the honest conversations that will ultimately lead to healthier, more inclusive communities.

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.

 ###

Community Resources: Aside from Wyman, there are several resources that St. Louisans may call on for support.

  • The United Way offers a “ 211” phone line to field a variety of human service needs, as well as a directory search via http://www.211helps.org/.
  • Additionally, Behavioral Health Response offers a 24-hour helpline as well as mobile outreach for emotional support, available via 314-469-6644.

 

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.

http://katiespizzaandpasta.com/

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 the Symposium in its entirety: http://americangraduate.ninenet.org/community-voices/special-programs/
  • View key takeaways from audience members via Twitter: @WymanCenter.
  • Download presentation slides by clicking the below link:
    2014 Symposium Presentation
  • 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.”