Covenant House understands that youth need more than food and shelter to change their lives; they also need the everyday life skills it takes to function in the adult world. Life skills that most of us take for granted such as cooking, cleaning and budgeting are learned over time by watching our parents. Unfortunately, most of our youth did not have positive role models in their lives to teach them these skills.
Our life skills program offers a holistic approach to learning by using a variety of mediums to reach our young people. These include one to one sessions, workshops, events and group learning sessions. Having a diverse program means that youth that may have struggled to learn in a traditional setting benefit from a life skills program tailored to their learning style; this allows them to build confidence and alleviates frustration.
Stephanie, a life skills worker says "having an individualized program allows the youth to own their plan and really invest in making changes in their life." The life skills program covers a variety of topics including: time management, grocery shopping, cooking, budgeting, job preparation and anything the youth identifies they need help with. Stephanie says, "It is amazing how many youth identify anger management as a skill they need help with. It is an important life skill and it is great to see youth asking for help with this".
Staff work with community partners whenever possible as to not duplicate services and to encourage the youth to make connections in their community. This broadens the support network the youth have and increases their likelihood of making it on their own. Not only do the youth develop healthy relationships in the community but they are also able to have positive peer to peer interactions. The youth are able to learn from and teach each other during group interactions and peer fostered learning is very powerful. Youth are also encouraged to discover lost interests and hobbies which helps to alleviate boredom and reduces the desire to go back to destructive behaviors.
Recently, some of our youth completed a life skills module in cooking. Working with kitchen staff and youth workers, the youth learned to make a variety of different foods.