At Providence Center, teens become leaders and role models in their community. Though graduation rates in our area are under 50%, our teens defy the statistics. Teen Leaders at Providence Center prepare for college and careers, and they serve as passionate mentors for neighborhood children who will follow in their footsteps.
We hire Teen Leaders from local high schools during their sophomore year, and they stay with Providence Center through their high school graduation, and sometimes through their first year of college. These extraordinary leaders serve as role models for the children in our after school program. The Teens tutor and mentor the kids, helping prepare and deliver lessons. At the same time, the Teens receive support to achieve their personal and academic goals.
The children respond to the teens because they are from their same neighborhood and have often overcome similar challenges. Being seen as role models also has a significant impact on the teens. As one Teen Leader told us last year, sometimes the only thing that pushed her to study was knowing that if she did poorly she’d be letting the kids down who looked up to her.
Teen Leaders receive the following support:
- Regular meetings with staff to track progress on personal and academic goals;
- College preparation, including campus visits, assistance with applications, and financial aid workshops;
- Job skills development, including interviewing skills, career exploration workshops, resume building, public speaking, workplace behavior, and SEL and child care training;
- Personal development, including healthy relationships, exercise and stress reduction, and nutrition;
- Community leadership, including analysis of the root causes of social issues impacting their neighborhoods, planning and implementing service projects, and exploring their voices in advocacy.
From Vee, Assistant Director of Youth Programs and Former Teen Leader
“Being here isn’t about the money. It’s about the kids’ future. Many of them don’t have anyone in their lives who is always there for them to be able to help.”
High School Outreach
Our Youth Organizer has been meeting with some of the most resourced challenged high schools in our community, speaking with staff and holding focus groups with students. Working with partners, we running and planning workshops that help to fill gaps in the schools’ programming, including topics such as financial literacy, college applications and financial aid, and interviewing and workplace skills.
We also believe teens are an important part of our community’s revitalization. Working with our Teen Leaders, we are planning service and advocacy projects which will help local students complete their service requirements for graduation while also making a positive impact on their community.