Work readiness is a core element of YWP youth development programming. The young we work with desperately need money and they need to prepare for the formal workforce. Annually, YWP employs 300 youth – 30 on the FCC side and 30 as PHASE advocates and trainers working 6-8 hours a week, and 250 youth educators working 4 hours a week. Succeeding in the work place is essential to the survival of our youth who must contribute financially to their families, support their own secondary education, and in many cases live independently at 21. Employing youth allows us to build work readiness, which requires a foundation of social and emotional skills, the cultivation of attitudes and values that allow for the separation of public and private, setting and achieving goals, working on teams, and being productive, and practice! YWP youth staff work on teams and with a manger, apply their skills, develop professional behavior, put together a portfolio of work products, earn a pay check – and most importantly make mistakes and learn from them.
Peer Support and Modeling: Peer support and modeling is essential to the sustained growth and development of youth. Adult staff spends 2-6 hours a week with our youth. Their peers are constantly in touch. YWP’s Peer Support Circle (PSC) model features youth-facilitated 45 minute weekly sessions that provide a tool for youth talk through problems, receive positive advice, identify options, make commitments, and then report back on their progress to the rest of the group. PSC work to reinforce self-advocacy skills, provide a space for venting and counseling, and get support for good decision making. Adults are on call for additional support.