Ready by 21, the program aimed to help shepherd island children into healthy adults launched in spring of 2011, is looking forward to a busy school year, according to Director of Mentoring Kyra Alex.
The year’s efforts are primarily focused on building, expanding and promoting programs already underway. These include a long-term mentoring program, the continuation of “Real World 101” classes for high school students and revitalizing a peer mentoring program connecting high school students with elementary school students. One new effort is a “people skills” program for freshmen and sophomores, a program focusing on helping students learn skills such as time management and communication.
The people skills program was initiated after ongoing discussions with local business owners about what skills high school graduates seemed to lack.
The program, which starts this month, is geared toward helping kids become “work ready,” said Alex. “We start with ideas like goal setting, and cover topics like effective communication, time management, valuing diversity, teamwork, networking.”
The curriculum is approved by high school principal Todd West, and it will be piloted with the lower high school grades and hopefully transitioned to the middle school grades as well, said Alex.
“The schools are covering the educational piece, the math, science, reading and writing,” said Alex. “This is to help with the social piece.”
A major mentoring initiative, launched in spring of this year, is well underway according to Alex. The program connects long-term mentors with high school sophomores. Alex said the group is in the process of connecting this year’s sophomores with potential mentors.
The Real World 101 classes will continue, and with the help of grant funding from Healthy Acadia, will focus on health and nutrition this year. The first “All-school Real World” featured dance teacher Sue Senecal of Sue’s School of Dance, and demonstrated ways to get moving.
Alex said the coming year will be “exciting” for Ready by 21, as ongoing programs are continued and new efforts launched.