Hey! Lola here, Appalachian Scholars Program School-Based Coordinator. We have lots of exciting programs here at the Settlement; some tried and true and some scholarly and new! During the month of October, Corey Terry, an AmeriCorps VISTA Member with the Settlement, and I will begin facilitating the TOP (Teen Outreach Program) curriculum in Knott County and selected Letcher County Schools.
The Teen Outreach Program will reach 8th and 9th grade students in Knott County as well as 8th grade classes at Arlie Boggs Elementary and Jenkins Independent School in Letcher County. The primary goals of TOP is to teach youth life skills, assist in building healthy behaviors and give them a sense of purpose. These goals will be accomplished through educational peer lead group meetings, community service learning and positive adult guidance and support.
The evidence based behavioral outcomes of TOP include 52% lower risk of school suspension, 60% lower risk of course failure and 53% lower risk of pregnancy, for those who complete the program; with an observed 60% lower risk of school dropout.
We are looking forward to sharing 25 lessons (each lesson is an hour) with teens engaged in the program. The lessons cover subjects such as respecting oneself and others, including their differing opinions; learning the dynamics of each “family” as defined by individual youth and letting youth choose a community service project to complete by the end of their 25 lesson course.
We are here to support youth and their families and not teach teens what to think, but how to think. We’ll share more updates as they come along!