For two years, youth have been navigating disrupted education, isolation from family and friends, reduced access to resources and services, increased economic challenges, and shifting expectations for their futures. These challenges can impact mental health, school engagement and performance, and postsecondary and career decisions.
These current realities have demonstrated the importance of positive youth development approaches. Maintaining strong adult-youth relationships, and continuing to support teens as they build skills, develop a positive sense of self, and create strong connections with others, is essential. Providing high quality supports and opportunities, and engaging and relevant curricula, helps young people as they navigate the new realities in which they are living.
Wyman’s programs – Teen Outreach Program, Teen Connection Project, and Wyman Leaders – seek to support educational success, healthy behaviors and relationships, and life and leadership skills among the youth we and our partners serve. Our 2021 program outcomes show that, even during these unprecedented circumstances, Wyman youth are building connections with supportive adults, feeling a sense of belonging, and developing critical social emotional skills. Young people in Wyman Leaders are also continuing to pursue and succeed in postsecondary education at rates similar to or above overall state and national rates.
Wyman teens are building connections with supportive adults and feeling a sense of belonging.
Supportive relationships matter.
Wyman teens are developing the social emotional skills and competencies key to success in life.
Social emotional skills matter.
Like youth served by Wyman in the St. Louis area, youth served by Wyman’s National Network partners show positive outcomes and report high quality program experience.
While a 90% postsecondary enrollment rate is typical for graduating high school seniors in Wyman Leaders, due to COVID-19 educational outcomes continue to look different.
Across the nation, postsecondary enrollment rates have decreased, and we know that some Wyman youth are making different decisions about their own postsecondary journeys than they have in the past.
But Wyman youth, who are predominantly living in low-income circumstances, continue to pursue and achieve educational and career goals at rates similar to or above state and national rates, which include teens from all economic backgrounds.
Our work is more important than ever.
The pandemic has significantly impacted our nation’s youth, including their mental health and educational progress, and has added to the significant economic strain already experienced by those living in low-income circumstances.
It is imperative for organizations, like Wyman, who serve and support youth to remain steadfast– recovery from the pandemic will take time and our responses and supports must reflect this.
Now more than ever we are committed to meeting the social and emotional needs of young people which is critical as they continue to navigate through the current realities. We invite you to join us in this commitment.