Local Teen News: The Scholarship Foundation Extends 529 College Savings Plan Scholarship Program

Future Forward Wyman TeensThe Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis is pleased to announce the extension of Future Forward, the organization’s 529 College Savings Plan Scholarship Program, in which the Foundation will make available to 120 eighth-graders up to $1,400 per student over the next 5 years. The Scholarship Foundation has partnered with MOST-Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan to create privately-funded scholarship accounts for these students.

A program announcement was held at 2:30 p.m. on April 19 for eighth-grade students currently enrolled in Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program. Guest speakers included Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel and City of St. Louis Treasurer, Tishaura Jones.

“I’m both excited and honored to support the Scholarship Foundation’s Future Forward program,” Treasurer Jones, a Wyman Board Member, said. “There’s nothing more important than investing in our children and giving them a head start on saving for college.”

The event, held at Wyman Center in Eureka, helped students and their families familiarize themselves with MOST-Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan and learn how to take full advantage of their participation in the Future Forward Program.

“I am proud of the partnership we have been able to create between my office, the MOST 529 Plan, and the Scholarship Foundation to provide young people with support, skill development and encouragement as they prepare for their future,” Treasurer Zweifel said. “There is no question that higher education is more important than ever before,  and programs like Future Forward are ensuring students have what they need  to meet the challenges of a changing work force.”

For more information on Future Forward, please contact Sarah McClure at 314-725-7990.

About The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis

The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis is a nonprofit organization based upon the conviction that an educated citizenry is essential to a democracy. The Foundation helps area students access post-secondary education through interest-free loans and grants, as well as programs designed to help students and families navigate the financial aid process and avoid excessive debt. Since 1920, more than 10,500 students have been awarded over $59 million in interest-free loans and $3.8 million in grants. For more information on The Scholarship Foundation, please visit www.sfstl.org. 

Wyman News: 2015 Gala Convenes Combined 260 Local Youth and Leadership on Saturday, March 14

Media Contact: Kristin Gumper
Download 2015 Gala News Release

Annual Event Highlights Teens Lives Changed by Wyman Programs

St. Louis, MO [Feb. 10, 2015] – More than 55 teen leaders from across St. Louis will converge at The Wyman Gala on Saturday, March 14. St. Louisans are invited to join the festivities, and learn how they too can help support the development of tomorrow’s teen leaders.

The gala, “Celebrating Today’s Teens and Tomorrow’s Leaders,” helps fund positive youth development programs offered by Wyman Center, a national trailblazer in positive youth development strategies that help teens thrive, not just survive.

Wyman’s programs – offered for more than 116 years here in St. Louis – are proven to build teen leadership and resilience, while also reducing teen pregnancy, dropout, class failure and truancy.

Risky behaviors, like teen childbearing, lead to a lifetime of consequences, as well as more than $9 billion in costs to the nation annually. For this reason, prevention programs such as Wyman’s yield a powerful social and financial return on investment – about $10 for every $1 spent.

Teens featured at the gala include those from Wyman’s Teen Leadership and Teen Outreach programs, who will talk one-on-one with gala guests.  The teen meet and greet is a highlight of the annual gala, which has raised more than $800,000 over the last five years to support local Wyman programs.

“More than 13.5 million young people live in poverty,” said Amie Nolan-Needham, event chair. “Wyman has served more than 125,000 nationally over the last five years, but we’ve got more work to do. With support from those who attend the gala, we know that together, we can ignite even greater change – for our teens, our community and the next generation at-large. Having the chance to speak with Wyman teens, learn about the challenges they faced, and discover how they’ve overcome these challenges and transformed their lives is one of the most inspiring moments of my year.”

“Wyman helped me become the person I am today,” said Da’Vione Johnson, who joined Wyman’s programs after experiencing both poverty and gang violence as a young teen. “Wyman gave me a mirror to look at myself for who I am, figure out where I wanted to be, and explore the places I could go. Today, I’m in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, and hope to become an Air Force pilot. Wyman gave me hope, and I am eternally grateful for the people and opportunities that Wyman has placed in front of me.” Currently, Johnson is also full-time student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and a part-time student at Saint Louis University.

Emceeing this year’s gala is a family who will share how these programs have changed their lives – Andre and Dominique, who are both Fox High School students, along with their mother, Joy.

What:  The Wyman Gala: Celebrating Today’s Teens and Tomorrow’s Leaders
Where:  Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis
When:  Saturday, March 14, 2015, from 6 to 11 p.m.

  • 6 p.m.  – Cocktails
  • 7 p.m. – Special Welcome by a Wyman Family
  • 7:15 p.m. – Dinner
  • 8:20 p.m. – Meet the Wyman Teens, followed by a Fund-the-Need Auction
  • 9 p.m.  – Dance, Dance, Dance and Late Night Nibbles

To purchase tickets visit: http://wymancenter.org/2015-wyman-gala/.

Join the conversation:

About Wyman’s Work:
Through the work of more than 300 providers in 35 states, Wyman offers some of the most successful, cost-effective and highly respected programs for teens nationally.

Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) is a nationally recognized program for teens in 6th to 12th grade that reduces the risk of problem behavior and increases healthy choices.

TOP engages teens in curriculum-guided discussion and community service learning throughout the school year. Delivered during a critical time in adolescent brain development, discussions and activities support brain maturity as youth are engaged in thinking about their goals, values and behaviors.

2013 – 2014 School Year Results (St. Louis):

  • 100 percent of TOP teens remained in school
  • 100 percent of TOP students graduated on-time
  • 98 percent of TOP teens progressed to the next grade level

Wyman’s Teen Leadership Program (TLP) provides immersive residential summer experiences and school-year support over the course of six years to build the leadership capacity of teens, and increase college access and persistence.

2013 Results (St. Louis):

  • 100 percent TLP seniors graduated from high school on time
  • 92 percent enrolled in post-secondary education or training upon graduation
  • 91 percent of TLP alumni have graduated with a degree, are currently enrolled in a degree or training program, or are in the military

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 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.


2015 Wyman Gala

2015 gala logo

Please join our annual celebration of success and opportunity at the Wyman Gala.

Join our emcees and a family transformed by Wyman for an extraordinary evening of dinner, dancing, libations and late night noshes.

Saturday, March 14, 2015, 6–11 PM, Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis (999 N 2nd St, Saint Louis, MO 63102)

6:00 PM Cocktails
7:00 PM Special Welcome by a Wyman Family
7:15 PM Dinner
8:20 PM Meet The Wyman Teens and Fund-The-Neead Auction
9:00 PM Dance, Dance, Dance and Late Night Nibbles
11:00 PM  Evening Concludes

Black-tie optional
Complimentary valet parking

Be part of this fun and engaging night in St. Louis, presented by LHA Land, LLC.

RSVP or Sponsor by March 6!

For more information on sponsorships, tickets or donations, contact David Lauber at (636) 549-1247 or david.lauber@wymancenter.org.

Wyman’s 8th Annual Spring Derby

Wyman’s Young Leaders Board presents the 8th Annual Wyman Spring Derby…

2015 Derby PhotoDon your derby hats and seersucker suits and join us to bet on vintage horse races and party throughout the evening with a band and raffle prizes!

Saturday, April 25, 2015
6 – 10 p.m.

Mike Shannon’s Outfield

Early-bird tickets $35 until March 31
$50 per ticket beginning April 1
$60 at the door
Purchase tickets now!

Tickets include beer and wine, appetizers, parking and $20 in “horse bucks” to get the betting started!

Share on Facebook, or send out a Tweet and be sure to include #WymanDerby! Or, download the flyer: Derby 2015.

For more information, contact Amanda Gastreich at Amanda.GastreichWymanCenter.org.


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


Learn More at http://teenoutreachprogram.com/ 

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

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.

Wyman News: Wyman Receives $50,000 Grant to Continue College Persistence Programming

Teen Leadership Program

Multi-Year Partnership Between TG, Wyman and the Scholarship Foundation Supports Low-Income and First Generation College Students


ST. LOUIS, MO [December 2014] – This fall, TG, a private, nonprofit corporation that helps millions of students and families realize their college and career dreams, awarded Wyman Center, a national youth development leader that provides teens and communities at-risk with the tools they need to succeed, with a $50,000 grant for the Persistence Power program. The grant will support approximately 175 students in the St. Louis region.

Persistence Power supports post-secondary completion among economically disadvantaged students and aligns with the TG Foundation’s efforts to serve the needs of first-generation college students.

The program addresses several community priorities:

  • Increasing the proportion of students in the St. Louis region who earn higher education degrees to 50 percent by 2020.
  • Providing a model for coordination among higher-education institutions that can be replicated by other youth-serving organizations.
  • Advancing the understanding of critical levers in persistence, including cost effectiveness and scalability.

Persistence Power is implemented through a partnership between Wyman, the Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, and universities across the state. The grant will support teens within Wyman’s existing Teen Leadership Program (TLP), which is based in St. Louis. TLP provides immersive summer experiences and school-year support for six consecutive years to help high-potential teens who are at-risk prepare to become successful college-bound students. The partnership with Scholarship Foundation ensures that students have direct and on-going access to financial literacy supports, financial aid coaching, and opportunities to apply for interest-free loans and grants.

The new grant will build on work completed in the past three years by the collective team, which has been made possible by TG. This work includes persistence coaching for students from their senior year in high school through the end of their sophomore year in college, and, relationship development with key personnel at partner universities who support students during their time on-campus.

Thanks to the new grant, additional layers of support will be folded into the program.

  • Upperclassmen will be engaged as mentors at partner universities to provide direct engagement and support to new Persistence Power students. These mentors will be juniors or seniors who have been through previous Persistence Power programming.
  • Wyman will increase the support that students receive during its “Summer Bridge” portion of the program, which runs during the summer between high school graduation and entry into post-secondary school.
  • And, Wyman will continue to support the juniors and seniors who have already received support from the program for their first two years, to ensure a smooth transition through and out of post-secondary education.

2015 Update

  • Thanks to the support of TG, the Summer Bridge portion of the Persistence Power program helped 41 rising college freshmen and sophomores prepare for their upcoming transitions during a 3-day workshop. More than 30 community members presented at the workshop, and helped students learn more about professionalism, networking, roommate conflict, borrowing wisely, successfull studying skills, and more.
  • 2014 – 2015 Persistence Power Results:
    • 91 percent of college sophomores are actively enrolled and on track to graduation
    • 5 percent of the students actively used campus-based services
    • 94 percent of college freshmen achieved a 2.0 or greater GPA
    • 88 percent of college freshmen  earned a minimum of 20 credit hours before the start of their sophomore year

About TG
TG is a private, nonprofit corporation that promotes educational success to help millions of students and families realize their college and career dreams. TG provides critical support to schools, students, and borrowers at every stage of the federal student aid process — from providing information on how to pay for a higher education including financial aid options, to facilitating successful loan repayment after graduation.

About The Scholarship Foundation
The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, a nonprofit organization founded in 1920, is based upon the conviction that an educated citizenry is essential to a healthy democracy. The Foundation sees higher education as a catalyst for positive change, a force that can transform the lives of individuals and families and advance the economic and civic health of societies.

About Wyman
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.

Media Contact:
Kristin Gumper
Director, Communication and External Affairs

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


Media Contact:
Kristin Gumper
Director, Communication and External Affairs

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.