West Point, MS - In an effort to empower community youth, Sally Kate Winters Family Services is now offering a free leadership program to teens 12-17 years old during the afterschool hours. Parents and teachers are encouraged to refer students to the program that will provide two hours (3:30 p.m. - 5:30p.m.) of supervised leadership building activities, such as independent-living skills, educational encouragement, problem solving, character building, personal responsibility, and community service opportunities. The program is open to students in grades 7-12, specifically for youth ages 12-17 years of age beginning January 22 and running until May. For those enrolled in the program, transportation and an afternoon snack will be provided. Program leaders say that space is limited so youth or their parents should call to enroll immediately.
Sally Kate Winters Family Youth Leadership program is unique to West Point, where there is an overall lack of resources for teens between the ages of 12-17. With the help of MSU volunteers and interns, dedicated staff, and other community members who generously donate their time, teens will now have a positive place to grow and learn those vital leadership skills that are so important for today’s youth. “We want youth of West Point to be successful and feel that the main focus of this new leadership program is to be a safe and welcoming place where teens can come to learn and be empowered.” said Sheila Brand, Sally Kate Winters Executive Director.
The program is completely voluntary; teens have to want to attend regularly, so the program has been designed to actively engage each youth. “We understand that youth aren’t going to voluntarily attend unless we have some fun and relevant activities planned. Some of these activities will include trips to the DMV, EMCC, and MS State, cooking instruction, as well as, other independent living need-to-knows,” says Yelverton. “The program is completely designed around and with youth’s input. As a group, the youth determine everything from youth-led weekly activities, to community service projects, to the program ‘name’, and even the t-shirt design for the program.” Incorporating positive youth development components within the program ensures the goal of each youth completing the program with new, empowering skills that they can confidently use within their schools, homes, and communities.
Sally Kate Winters Family Services Afterschool program is funded through a Basic Center Program federal grant and is offered to provide support services for at risk youth. For more information about enrolling in Sally Kate Winters Family Services Leadership program, contact Georgia Sasso at 662.494.4867.