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No student should ever feel alone. The Family Resource and Youth Service Center (FRYSC) helps this issue. The FRYSC is a non-profit center that aims to remove barriers that prevent students from success. The center gives students school supplies, food, clothing, and other forms of physical and mental support, this way students can focus more on their grades in school and their future education. They also provide career, college, and adult readiness trainings and programs to help prepare students as they leave high school and start new chapters in their lives.
I completed eight of my community service hours at the Calloway County High School Youth Service Center. I was able to watch, and take part in many of these different services for the local students.
One issue in today’s society in regards to education is that many students feel as if they aren’t taught life skills, and what they are taught won’t be useful to them later in life.
Like mentioned before, the Family Resource and Youth Service Center does many activities, programs, and trainings to make students feel prepared when they graduate high school. Literacy and life skills education for vulnerable youth: What policy makers can do states, “Life skills education provides knowledge, skills, values and attitudes through the four pillars of learning: learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together and with others, and learning to be.” Another issue in today’s generation of high school students involve more complex issues such as mental illnesses, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, and much more.
While none of this can be avoided, it should be made more aware. Research has indicated that students in high schools with fully developed, comprehensive, and outcome-based counseling programs are more likely to obtain high grades and to be prepared for success in college and careers. (Lapan, Gysbers, & Petroski, 2001; Lapan, Gysbers, & Sun, 1997.) Lastly, another issue is learning disabilities in the classroom. Not only do those with learning disabilities receive the proper tools to learn, but teachers aren’t well equipped enough to teach them. It is important that all students are well equipped in order to succeed. It remains important for educators, parents, and administrators to consider the potential benefits and shortcomings of class placement options. (Fore et al. 70)
A local non-profit program that address similar issues to the FRYSC is the Mayfield Graves County YMCA (http://www.mayfield-gravesymca.com). This program focuses on after school instead of in school, but wants to provide a healthy Christian environment for kids to gain a greater interest in learning as well as making smarter choices in life. They offer after school programs, a nursery, fitness classes, and education classes for children of all ages. Children can take place in a Summer camp. The YMCA website states, “Activities for the summer include various field trips, swimming at the YMCA, and educational projects based on age group. We are also providing the children with their meals for the day through our Summer Feeding Program.”
A national non-profit program is the National Association for Family and Community Education (www.nafce.org). This program deals with family issues and leadership, as well as promoting health and nutrition. They want to be role models to those that they help. They offer many different programs such as Character Counts, Health and Fire Services, Family Community Leadership, awards, and scholarships. They provide curriculum to help children and adults further their education.
An international non-profit program with similar values is the Children Incorporated Foundation. This organization provides resources to children in need because they believe that all children deserve the right to an education. While Children Incorporated does work in the United States, they do many things internationally. Children Incorporated describe their work as, “We provide basic necessities such as food, clothing, healthcare, and educational support to children living in poverty in the U.S. and abroad. Each year, we give thousands of impoverished children all over the world a chance at a better life.” Their website has many stories of mission work that they have done internationally. Some include giving villages clean running water, providing bug nets to keep away bugs that carry diseases, etc. They also give the option to donate to their foundation, or sponsor a child.
Because students feel as if they aren’t learning the basic life skills needed to become an adult, there needs to be required classes in high school that teach them. Many high schools, including my own, offer life skills courses. These can include money skills, how to sew a button, how to do laundry, how to change a tire, how to change a diaper, and much more. It is just as important for students to know life skills as it is for them to know how to solve for x in an equation. A study taken by Monash Faculty of Education associate professors Sivanes and Shane N. Phillipson say that 69 per cent of parents believe schools should do more to teach their child about social skills. Historically, social and life skills are taught within the home and the development of skills and knowledge needed for a successful career have been taught in school, however, perceptions about what equals academic success is changing and so, for today’s parents social and life skills are becoming an increasingly important element in education. (Monash Faculty 1)
Schools can also start these classes earlier in education, and continue them until graduation as part of a career pathway. Some school districts require students to pick a career, and then the rest of their high school schedule revolves around those classes they are most interested in for their future. While these classes can change, it will allow students to have experience in their career of interest, as well as make it easier for students to choose a career path when it is time for them to graduate and enter college. Lastly, the service centers can provide more career opportunities, such as career fairs, interview practice, and reality experiences. Career fairs will allow students to know places hiring in their area. This will increase work ethic. Interview practice will strengthen interview skills and help students know what employers are looking for during the interview process. Reality experiences, such as a reality store, will give students a glimpse into reality to understand what life can be like in the real world.
More complex issues such as depression and other mental illnesses, substance and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, etc. can not be prevented, but they can be made more aware. While some Family Resource and Youth Service Centers offer counselling, I feel that it would be important for all schools to offer open counselling sessions for students to have someone to talk to and someone that they can ask for help in different situations. Most high schools provide a guidance counselor, but the duties of a high school guidance counselor has shifted more towards standardized testing instead of focussing on the well being of students. Counselors have many demands on their time. They must divide their time among students’ school and personal problems, high school course scheduling, academic testing, job placement, career planning, and college preparation. (Velez 3) Hiring professional guidance counselors can benefit students before they go through these situations, or as they’re happening.
Learning disabilities seem to be overlooked in today’s generation. While there has been a light shining on inclusion in schools, no one is doing as much to make sure that students with learning disabilities are being provided everything in order for them to succeed at their highest potential. For example, those with ADHD need more hands on learning to understand curriculum. Implementing interactive classrooms in schools will give students with learning disabilities a chance to reach their fullest potential. The FRYSC can also provide trainings for educators, teaching them how to handle students with these disabilities. According to helpguide.org, “All children need love, encouragement, and support, and for kids with learning disabilities, such positive reinforcement can help ensure that they emerge with a strong sense of self-worth, confidence, and the determination to keep going even when things are tough.” Showing teachers different teaching strategies, activities, and terminology to use with students with disabilities will help the students succeed in the classroom.
Working at the CCHS Family Resource and Youth Service Centers has made me a more thankful and grateful person. It’s impossible, as a student, to realize what those around you may be dealing with in their daily lives. During my time, I was granted the opportunity to take place in the Snack Pack program, a program where less fortunate students took home food every weekend for their siblings and themselves to eat. I went to the grocery, bought and packed their food, and delivered it to their lockers. Although I did not get to personally impact these students, knowing that I helped them during their time of need was extremely heartwarming. I completed many small tasks, like making christmas ornaments, organizing, and conversing with students and teachers about life in the center. These small things are what make the larger things easier. Lastly, I realized that all students deserve to succeed. No learning barrier should stand in the way of a person’s success. The FRYSC makes such a positive impact in the schools, and on the students, and I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to work with them to make a difference.
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