The YWCA works to lessen some of the risk factors faced by children and families in our community by providing concentrated, holistic strength-based programming. Our overarching goal of all youth programming is that children will be able to identify their personal strengths, articulate goals, and be able to identify at least one consistent, caring adult.
Prevention needs to take place within the family system and needs to address families from a position of strength; whenever possible, the YWCA seeks to work with children and their parents. Our holistic approach includes some of the following components:
YWCA Teens Programs
1) Provide information, skill development and encouragement to adolescent girls through gender-specific enrichment opportunities that will enable them to make healthy life choices and autonomous decisions, i.e. decisions in their best interest; and,
2) Prevent sexual and relationship violence by educating middle and high school youth about respect and responsibility in relationships. Skills-based training has been shown by research to increase youth resistance to violence, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and to decrease the likelihood of early sexual activity. Currently, the Youth Programs Coordinator is working towards her certification in prevention.
Parent Education and Support Groups
Our parent education and support groups are offered through the Family Education Collaborative (the Collaborative) located at the YWCA. Our strength-based and solution-focused programs allow us to work closely with families, helping to increase their knowledge of community resources, child development, positive communication, and more.
Childcare for Parent Education and Support Groups
The YWCA provides free childcare for all groups offered by the Collaborative. We have trained staff who, beginning in 2010 for many groups, will facilitate age-appropriate topical conversations and activities with the youth in childcare, that will correspond with the information that is being presented in their parent/caregiver’s group.
Reducing Bullying in N.H.'s Schools
Working to reduce bullying in our schools will begin with the start of the 2010/2011 school year. New Hampshire Child Advocacy Network, a program of the Children’s Alliance of NH, voted for four 2010 priority issues for children, which will include the Collaborative’s proposed priority to reduce bullying in NH schools by strengthening the roles and responsibilities of school personnel in the prevention of bullying and cyber bullying. Priority Leaders, Monica Zulauf and Dr. Malcolm Smith, proposed changes to Chapter 193-F, “The Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention Act” which would strengthen NH school’s rights and responsibilities in dealing with this growing trend. Dr. Smith has completed a new training for educators and parents on the issues of bullying: bully, victim and bystander. Dr. Smith and Ms. Zulauf are now in the process of developing a youth program, and will be piloting it at the YWCA. This program will start by working with bullies and expand over time. We will be accepting referrals from schools and community programs.
For more information about youth programs at the YWCA, please call 625-5785 or email at email@example.com.