The CCEAP Life Skills Program offers individual activities tailored to participants’ goals, needs and issues ( school performance, interpersonal issues, vocational development etc.), interests, and strengths.
The Life Skills Coordinator is not found sitting at a desk waiting for young people to visit. Instead, the Coordinator meets youth out in their school, at home, and in their communities. By paying close attention to a participant’s needs, staff become useful to a young person and is welcomed into their day-to-day lives. This is a critical piece of our program philosophy. Even the time staff spend driving participants to a meeting or activity can be very useful time for conversation. Activities are tailored to support learning and skill building in areas such as:
- Independent living skills: Activities focus on areas that include: effective school work management, health and safety (including substance abuse and sexuality issues), personal care skills, budgeting and financial literacy (support regarding management and use of stipend) survival skills, community awareness, legal rights and responsibilities, conflict education and anger management and other areas that arise out of working with individual participants.
- Education: services include arranging for remedial assistance and/or tutoring, GED preparation if appropriate, and accessing ETV vouchers.
- Work Maturity & Career Development: Individual counseling with youth assists them to identify interests, aptitudes, and skills; begin setting career and employment goals; and identify education and training needed to reach goals. Services include apprenticeships based in areas of the youths’ interest; career exploration tours (informational visits to community work sites of interest to participants); and community work projects where youth volunteer at various community non-profits learning about the work of the agency and developing basic work skills. Check out the list of possible interest areas that you can explore here!
- Youth development activities: Staff-supervised recreational events such as outdoor activities, arts projects, etc. foster positive healthy recreational and avocational, and stress relief habits. Leadership activities include
- Involvement with Voices United and Youth in Progress events, and bi-annual foster care policy and planning events.
- Opportunities for youth to join dialogs regarding community issues facing youth.
- Identifying issues of importance to youth participants, planning and carrying out community service projects that address those issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can participate in the Life Skills Program?
Only young people who are referred by the Tompkins County Department of Social Services (DSS). DSS refers youth ages 14-21 who are in custody of DSS and who are living in a Tompkins County family foster care home.
What happens after a foster care youth is referred to the Life Skills Program?
Once we receive notification that a youth is eligible, the Life Skills Coordinator will contact the DSS case worker, the youth, and the foster parent to introduce herself and the program. The Life Skills Coordinator will meet with youth in a range of settings: foster homes, school, or in the community. The Coordinator and the young person work together to develop a goal plan and begin deciding which activities and services the youth wants to pursue.
How often do youth participate in Life Skills?
The amount of time a youth spends on life skills can vary from a minimum of twice per month up to weekly if there is need, interest, and availability on the part of the young person. Meeting schedules also vary depending on youth’s availability; usually occurring Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm. Group activities such as workshops and recreational activities may occur on an evening or weekends.
What if a foster youth do not want to participate in Life Skills?
Sometimes a foster youth does not wish to participate in the Life Skills Program. The Coordinator will meet with the young person to explore why the youth does not want to participate and what kinds of activities might interest the youth, explaining that the program is very open and flexible in terms of what can be done. If a foster youth refuses Life Skills, the Life Skills Coordinator contacts them each month to let them know what is being planned and renewing the offer to participate. We welcome both the case workers’and foster parents’ help in encouraging youth to take advantage of the Life Skills Program.