Christian Life Skills Mentoring Program (CLSMP)
For ages 6-9, and 10 – 18, consists of ten life skills followed by a rite of passage (for ages 10 – 18). It takes from 16 months – 4 years to complete the program, depending on the pace and scheduling. In the model covered in four years, three skills are covered each year, followed by a review in preparation for the rite of passage. A faster pace would require more sessions per year or a faster pace in covering each session. When discussion and activities are included, each skill may be covered in a series of 5 – 6 sessions. It is suggested that an orientation/kick-off be provided initially and a celebration at the conclusion of each skill. The slower
paced model covering one skill in each season– fall, winter and spring accommodates a break in summer. This model and slower pace also means that mentors are in dialogue with a young person about their daily life issues during a substantial period of the critical developmental years. A faster pace for completing all ten skills ensures that in our ever-changing, fast-paced world, youth are able to complete the entire program before circumstances prevent their continued involvement. Each session of 90 minutes to two hours, encourages time for recreation, opening and closing devotions, and mentoring time to discuss life issues and life skills. The mentoring aspect is done in small groups of one-on-one, or 2 – 3 youth and a mentor. Parents are the first and foremost mentors, other caring adults are also trained to serve as mentors. Recreation may be any kind of activity or interest that is enjoyable, wholesome, and meeting the genuine needs of the youth with energy and enthusiasm.
Combined Youth and Family Fellowship(CYFF)– consists of celebrations, special events, and outings for the entire families of all participants–mentors, youth and all. This is a time to model, support and nurture healthy family life. The opening and closing celebrations of each skill and other events are opportunities to encourage involvement for positive nurture and enjoyment by all families. Additionally, special events may be planned periodically in order to promote and nurture family well being. For those youth whose families do not participate there is usually a mentor or other caring adult who “adopts” and embraces that youth into a “family group” of which they are a part. The emphasis is on “togetherness” and being members of the family of God moreso than identifying and emphasizing individual family structures.
Young Adult Leadership Training (YALT)
This program assists youth ages 13-26 in gaining skills in leadership, financial management and planning, academic success, career development, and personal and spiritual growth. College and high school students participate in YALT together, with the college students serving as mentors and role models for the high school youth. After the training time, younger youth join the group for Life-Skills-in-Action. YALT operates on a college schedule, from September to May. The schedule that has worked best in the past has been once each month on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Life Skills in Action (LSIA)
LSIA links older youth from the YALT program with younger youth ages 6 – 12 to do activities in two areas-
(1) Personal development such as cooking and nutrition, hiking and fitness, basketball and fitness, dance and fitness, drama and writing with a positive purpose, library time, tutoring, arts and crafts.
(2) Community service such as visiting the elderly, cleaning neighborhood lots, tending a community garden, attending a political event, writing letters to the city, taking handmade gifts to seniors, helping out at a senior center, working with a Habitat for Humanity project, etc.
Youth Elders Project (YEP)
Arts and Crafts and table games such as checkers, dominoes, chess, and puzzles along with formal interviews and the development of intergenerational skits, provide multiple opportunities for developing better understanding and creating a permanent record of the life stories of the seniors. YEP is usually combined with YALT and LSIA.
The Young Adult Leadership Training Program and Curriculum Development Project (YALT/CDP)
Youth write original scripts of actual experiences they believe their peers are having. They collaborate on their ideas, merge the scripts around various life skills themes that are strong and clear in the messages they give. The try out for the roles, critique their performances with adult help, and then tape the material. A study guide may be created to strengthen the activities and discussion when presenting the video.
The Positive Alternative Entrepreneurial Program (PAEP)
PAEP addresses the needs of high risk youth for a safe place, adult support and guidance, a sense of belonging in a positive peer group, an opportunity to earn money, and the possibility of family support. Youth attend 3 times a week or more, from after school until 8 p.m. They share a meal together, do at least one hour of academic work, engage in a life skills session — CLSMP, learn business skills, entrepreneurial skills and earn money based on attendance and productivity. All the youth are paid for attending based on age. Youth ages 7 – 21 participate.
Mentors work with youth, one-on-one and in small groups during the various facets of the program. Entrepreneurial projects are selected by the youth based on interest, ability, and available support from mentors to ensure a successful outcome. Money earned by youth is divided between spending money, a savings account and a trust fund that is available to invest in post high school plans for future success.
The Parent Encouragement Program (PEP)
The PEP meets once each month with parents who are facing challenges–personal and/or related to their children. The session includes personal and spiritual growth, parenting education, and linkages with other resources. Discussion regarding individual children in any of the other CLS programs may occur if mentors are available to address concerns appropriately discussed in a group, otherwise such issues are addressed in separately arranged meetings or through phone conversations. PEP links with any of the other CLS programs, particularly PAEP.
Academic Tutoring – may occur back to back with any of the CLS programs, particularly CLSMP and PAEP. Tutors may be recruited from among youth participants, usually grades 9 – 12, if they have the skill, capacity, and maturity to help another youth academically. Adults or recruits from collaborative partners may assist with tutoring, along with college students. Tutors may be volunteers or they may receive an honorarium.
Creative and Expressive Arts
This programs involves a range of activities from gardening and woodworking to drumming, drama, and playing games– all are methods of expression that can serve as channels for youth who need to vent emotionally or explore and express their thoughts, ideas, feelings, and giftedness.
Creative and Expressive Arts may be woven into any and all of the other components of Christian Life Skills or may occur through a linkage with a pre-existing group such as the youth choir, mime group or other group that is doing the arts but needs life skills.