25 Jan 2018
Learn4Life Celebrates National Mentoring Month with HOPE, a New Program to Mentor Teenage Parents
The HOPE Mentorship program focuses on teaching students life skills, child development, health, food and nutrition, and financial planning – all while they’re working toward a high school diploma. Through local partnerships, Learn4Life is able to connect HOPE students with community resources like free diapers, clothing, formula, child care and other necessities.
The dropout recovery program unveils the latest addition to its portfolio of mentoring programs
LANCASTER, Calif. (January 25, 2018) – Learn4Life, a nonprofit dropout recovery program, unveils HOPE – Helping Our Parenting-teens Excel – a program that offers mentorship and support to its high school students who are teenage parents. Learn4Life points out that in the U.S., more than 50 percent of teen mothers never graduate from high school1. Also, students who do not finish high school have children who are more likely to drop out2.
The HOPE mentorship program focuses on teaching students life skills, child development, health, food and nutrition, and financial planning – all while they’re working toward a high school diploma. Through local partnerships, Learn4Life is able to connect HOPE students with community resources like free diapers, clothing, formula, child care and other necessities.
The HOPE program began after teacher Staci Roth noticed some of her students with very young children were struggling to attend school. Learn4Life students are allowed to bring their children to resource centers, but many mothers were not taking advantage of this policy because they felt embarrassed to bring their children into the main study area.
Staci and another teacher teamed up to bring all the student mothers and fathers together into one large, child-friendly classroom. It’s equipped with play pads, toys, soft music and books to occupy the children while their parents study and receive tutoring. The program began with 11 teen mothers and has grown to serve 70 parents and almost 100 babies at two resource centers in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles County.
“Mentoring these teen parents has made all the difference,” said Roth. “They are excelling and graduating, and we are helping to break the cycle of teen pregnancy and poverty.”
As part of the Learn4Life model, every student receives one-to-one mentoring from supervising teachers or staff counselors. In addition, more than 1,700 Learn4Life students participate in one of its dedicated mentoring programs, including:
- A Leader Within – a Learn4Life-developed group mentoring program based on character attributes and self-reflection. The 10-week program allows the students to earn elective credits toward graduation.
- Quarterbacks of Life – a student success and leadership mentoring program with Beating the Odds Foundation. The five-week program culminates with a two-day field trip to the Challenger Learning Center in Downey, Calif., where students participate in a simulated space mission that exercises teamwork, communication, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
- CenCal Mentoring Academy – a 32-week life and social skills curriculum administered in one-to-one mentorship meetings. Trained mentors work with the students through home visits, classroom sit-ins and after-class meetups to understand the root of any problem and prepare a coping plan together.
- Camp4Life – a mentorship program that takes place at an overnight camp or a working farm, where students receive hands-on STEM-based curriculum and experiential lessons in nature, combined with team-building exercises.
- The Girls Empowerment Workshop – through small group instruction, written exercises and dialogue with a mentor, students are empowered and inspired by developing communication skills and cultivating self-respect.
- Communities in Schools – a network of services that addresses individual student needs from prevention and intervention to advocacy and transition, working to break the cycles of poverty and gang influence.
- Youth Policy Institute – assists students in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty with essential resources and support services, including early childhood education for children of students, tutoring, college preparation, computer labs, case management, financial capability and job training.
Learn4Life students who participate in dedicated mentorship programs perform better on average in terms of credit completion and grade point average than those who do not. Studies3 report a 55 percent increase in college enrollment in young adults who have a mentor. Teachers report increased confidence and improved schoolwork and attitude for students who participated in mentoring programs.
For more information about Learn4Life and the thousands of at-risk students who have graduated, visit www.learnfourlife.org.
Founded in 2001, Learn4Life is a nonprofit workforce innovation partner that offers a free high school diploma and job skills training program for at-risk students. Its unique model includes personalized learning, flexibility, one-on-one attention and job readiness programs that help students prepare for a future beyond high school. Learn4Life serves more than 40,000 students across California. For more information, please visit www.learnfourlife.org.
Note: Photos available upon request.
Ann Abajian, Learn4Life
1 StayTeen. “Stay Informed: Teen Pregnancy.” StayTeen. Accessed March 10, 2015.
2 Lee, Valerie E., and David T. Burkam. Dropping out of High School: The Role of School Organization and Structure. American Educational Research Journal, 2003.
3 The National Mentoring Partnership
Original Article via PRNewswire