While academic classes prepare students with the knowledge needed for testing success, college acceptance, and/or workplace skills, the purpose of “You Are Here … Now What? (YAHNW) is to increase the students’ potential for persistence and completion in their post-secondary education experiences and in achieving workplace/career success. This is accomplished through:
Developing thoughtful and effective communication skills that lead to self-confidence and supportive, considerate interpersonal relationships.
Making judicious selections of post-secondary education opportunities and career aspirations through self-understanding and effective planning skills.
Increase self-assurance and communication effectiveness and confidence.
Increase awareness of the impressions they make.
Increase understanding of others and relationship building skills.
Deepen knowledge of self by identifying their talents, defining their values, and exploring their interests (“identify their genius”).
Broaden knowledge of post-secondary education opportunities and career options.
Develop respect for self and others and responsibility to family, friends, school relationships, community, and country.
Sessions are led by facilitators, not lecturers and are:
Interactive – utilizing group projects, activities and experiences that demonstrate how communication involves all of the senses.
Creatively designed – engaging the students and encouraging participation, so that students develop stronger, more effective communication skills as they are immersed in the projects and activities.
Example – Visual Communication Session:
In the first session, students view various pieces of artwork, such as paintings, graphic designs, sculptures, and photographs. In small groups they discuss the “message” expressed in each piece of art, and each group presents the results – the messages the group has determined are expressed by the art and how they came to that determination.
They discover that, although everyone looks at the same pieces of art, the messages they get vary. They find that because individuals have different experiences, they interpret messages differently. This is the foundation upon which the communication portion of YAHNW is based – each person “operates” from the basis of his or her experiences.
Subsequent sessions in the communication component of YAHNW examine and reinforce the concept of experiential interpretation. All of the senses are gateways of communication, and all are explored in subsequent sessions. When students understand, internalize and embrace this concept of experiential interpretation, they become much more skilled at communicating, at being empathetic, and at building relationships. Not only that, but their behaviors and their responses to different situations are impacted. These form the basis of Life Skills.
Learning Opportunities for Parents and Kids:
Parents: The next time you and your son or daughter have a different opinion or idea about something, ask him or her why there is a difference. Most likely the answer is that you have had independent and unique life experiences, and “experiential interpretation” is the culprit. This realization will give you an opportunity to engage in a learning moment with your child.
We will focus on personal development, relationship building, teamwork, identifying your genius, and decision making and planning skills. We will provide you with updates on the session topics so you can discuss them with your son or daughter. Topics will include:
The “dictionary” meaning of the word “value”
The concepts of personal and cultural values
Identifying one’s own values
The role of values in behavior, communication, and decision making
Finding and building your community
Teamwork and encouragement
Avoiding and ignoring gossip
Settling conflicts – handling conflicts, handling negatives, dealing with threats