Youth is defined as the period of time between childhood and adulthood. This means that today’s youth are tomorrow’s adults. The problem facing the youth of today is that they are being sheltered. We are sending them to classrooms where they are not being taught about real life situations. Many kids are coming home to families that are torn apart creating a confused outlook on life.
Sitting in a classroom all day does not let these young adults get involved. Youth programs help young adults get involved with the community as well as foster them into become successful adults. Studies are being done to calculate the effectiveness of youth programming. They are finding out what works and what does not. These same strategies, should be applied to our education systems, making room for better alternative schools.
Wake Forest recently did a study on what types of youth programming works in creating successful adults. The study found that when the programs were geared towards more serious work than just fun, the young people got more out of the program. By having the students do “hard work for a purpose,” made the young people learn the rewards and value of their hard work. This also teaches them life skills instead of giving them unrealistic goals. Life is not always fun.
Schools should consider the affects and outcomes of these studies and think about implementing them in classrooms. High Schools could require students to perform service-learning projects. In service-learning, they could take information that they learned in the classroom and apply it to real life situations. Not only would they be helping out the community, but they would be learning to connect their curriculum to life. How many times have you heard a student say, “Why do I need to learn this? I won’t use it in life.” I know that I even used this line as a high school student.
Another suggestion in marrying youth programming and alternative school, would be to try harder to get all students involved in extracurricular activities like: sports, band, choir, dance, art, and others. Learning to be part of a team or group is an important skill to acquire. However, Instead of encouraging students to be involved in these activities, schools are cutting funds to these areas.
Youth programming is proving to be successful in helping create well prepared adults. The youth that attend these programs are grasping the fact that their actions create results and that they can make a difference. Education institutes need to take note on the success of these programs and start implementing them.
Real life does not take place in a classroom setting. Real life is full of hard work and unexpected events. If we put our youth in the real world making them perform real life tasks, they are going to learn the value of hard work and community involvement. This is going to create a stronger community and stronger young adults. My only question is why youth programming isn’t being implemented in all schools already. Let’s get these kids out of their desks and into the world.