St. Louis, MO [September 3, 2018] – On Monday, Sept. 3, Wyman announced the unification of its two leadership and college access and persistence programs for teens – InspireSTL, and the Teen Leadership Program. The announcement marks the culmination of a multi-year merger and exploration process, which began with a merger of both programs in 2015. The unification will enable Wyman to provide more holistic support to a total of 500+ teens, spanning the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and Jefferson County. Wyman will also now be able to support all teens in this program for a full ten years (from seventh grade through four years post-high school graduation). In the past, each program offered differing levels of support and supported students from fewer geographic regions.
Over the last year, team members, teens in each program and external stakeholders were engaged to help explore the most important components of each program, and helped to identify supports that could fulfill unmet needs. Wyman also conducted a post-secondary education panel, and reviewed outcome data from each program.
The new program, which will be named with input from both the teens the program will serve and Wyman staff members, includes specific inputs from each program – all coalescing around leadership development and college access and persistence. From InspireSTL, this includes extensive academic preparation, targeted leadership skill development, and individualized coaching aimed at academic success and college access and persistence. From the Teen Leadership Program, this includes immersive residential experiences, social and emotional learning, leadership, post-secondary access and scholarship partnerships. To support this program model, Wyman will unify the staffs from each program into one team.
“This exploratory process has required each of us to step outside of our comfort zones and think beyond the work we do – and have been doing – for years,” said Claire Wyneken, Wyman President and CEO. “I applaud each and every person involved – including the teens who participated in focus groups, as well as staff – for courageously stepping into this space and advocating for what youth need to be successful. It requires leadership, positively challenging each other, and ensuring that what we learn from our current youth and alumni and what we know from our more than 120 years of youth development experience are front and center in the discussion.”
“Although the new program will be improved and expanded for incoming teens, Wyman will continue to fulfill our commitments to every young person currently enrolled. InspireSTL scholars and alumni will always be a part of InspireSTL, and TLP teens and alumni will always be a part of TLP. These young people have all worked hard and accomplished so much, and we are excited to work with staff and teens together to celebrate this history, and build the future and identity of this newest program,” added Wyneken.
Wyman will work with partner schools this fall to begin the application process. In the interim, Wyman is working to set up meetings with teens and parents to share more next steps, and parents and teens can also schedule a call to speak directly with a staff member by sharing their contact information here.
Wyman, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit and proud member of the United Way, has been dedicated to serving youth from disadvantaged circumstances for more than a century. Wyman empowers teens, equips adults and strengthens systems. Wyman’s engaging, empowering and experiential programs and services help teens build skills, and develop a sense of self and connections to their world. As a result, teens achieve educational success, develop healthy behaviors and relationships, and exhibit life and leadership skills. From thousands of teens in St. Louis – to tens of thousands nationally – Wyman programs and services make a difference in the lives of today’s teens and tomorrow’s leaders.
Senior Vice President, Advancement and External Affairs