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 career decisions.
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 post-secondary education at rates similar to or above overall state and national rates.
Our Wyman Leaders program supports 535 teens annually as they enter and complete college and career education programs, develop life and leadership skills, and create strong connections to their communities.
- 100% of Wyman’s Class of 2021 graduated from high school on time, compared to 89% of Missouri teens overall and 82% among Missouri teens from economically disadvantaged circumstances.
- 62% of Wyman’s Class of 2021 enrolled in a postsecondary education or training option during the fall after high school graduation.
- 71% of Wyman’s Class of 2020 persisted in a postsecondary option from Year 1 to Year 2.
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. 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.
Teen Outreach Program®
Wyman directly delivers the Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) to 575 teens in the St. Louis area. TOP empowers teens with the tools and opportunities to develop social-emotional skills, build healthy relationships and community connections, develop a sense of purpose, and avoid risky behavior.
TOP promotes positive youth development through engaging curriculum, community service learning, and supportive relationships with adults. During the 2020-21 school year, TOP teens continued to build connections with supportive adults and feel a sense of belonging.
- 89% of teens reported that their facilitators cared about them.
- 82% of teens reported feeling a sense of belonging during their program experience.
- 97% of teens reported that they avoided pregnancy on post-program surveys.
- 89% of teens reported that community service learning helped them make a positive difference in the lives of others.
Teen Connection Project™
Between 2016 and 2020, over 400 young people participated in the Teen Connection Project™ (TCP™) delivered by Wyman in the St. Louis area and by our national partners in their communities. TCP is designed to improve peer relationships, social-emotional skills, school belonging/engagement, and well-being among high school youth.
- 83% of youth served reported using social support to cope with problems.
- 86% of youth served reported positivity/less conflict in their close friendships.
- 83% of youth served reported that they believed in themselves.
- 96% of youth served reported a sense of belonging during their program experience.
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.