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New DCS Survey on Life Skills

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UPCOMING TOP® TRAININGS

Jan 14 - Mid-TN Booster, Nashville
Feb 3-5 - TOP Facilitator Training, Nashville
Apr 15-17 - TOP Facilitator Training, Knoxville
May 27-29 - TOP Facilitator Training, Nashville


For more info, contact Rokeisha Bryant at Oasis Center 
rbryant@oasiscenter.org
____________________________

Welcome New Providers!
G4S/The Academy for Young Women, Nashville
OmniVisionsNE, Elizabethton, TN
 

YDLC Member Agencies

Florence Crittenton Agency
G4S/The Academy for Young Women
Group Effort Foundation
Holston Home
Madison Oaks Academy
Monroe Harding
OmniVisions (4 locations)
Porter-Leath
UCHRA
Youth Villages, Nashville
DECEMBER 2014
In a recent webinar, Department of Children's Services Independent Living Director Mike Leach presented the results of a November 2014 DCS survey of more than 900 youth in custody in TN. The survey gathered the perspectives of a diverse group of youth aged 13-18 about life skills they had practiced while in care, everything from washing dishes to applying to college. The survey results, which showed what youth say they are learning and what they aren't, are available by contacting Leach at michael.h.leach@tn.gov.  At the conclusion of the webinar, Leach asked providers to consider "what more can you do...to create opportunities to develop life skills."  Below are some tips for making sure your TOP® implementation is maximizing its power to create such opportunities. 

Help youth feel safe. It is difficult for youth to learn when they are worried about feeling safe. Warmth and encouragement along with good structure help create safety. Arrange seats in a circle so everyone is a part of the group and can see everyone else. Rituals and consistency help, too. Start every TOP® group with a warm-up activity and end with a wrap-up, weaving a sense of wholeness and predictability.

Give it away. Ask yourself, "what can I allow youth to do? What choices can I give youth?"  If phone calls needs to be made in connection with a service learning project, can you help a young person learn how to make the calls? In a TOP® group, if supplies need to be passed out or something written on a flip chart, can a young person do it? Can youth choose which warm-up activity they want to do? Can a youth help lead it?  Even small tasks build confidence and buy-in.

Think outside the box. The TOP® curriculum and service learning activities support life skill development. And, remember that TOP® is flexible:  to implement with fidelity, only 80% of TOP® club meetings need to use the Changing Scenes© curriculum. Share the DCS Life Skills Survey results with youth and let them decide which life skills they want to learn during the other 20% of the time. Youth are often much better at thinking outside the box than we are and with encouragement are likely to come up with ideas we had not considered. 

Expect DCS to administer the life skills survey again in one year to help gauge the progress of providers, resource parents, and DCS staff in preparing youth for adult life.
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