Covenant Ministries Project Mom and Dad is committed to rebuilding the family structure through education, mentoring, career exposure and life skills. We are committed to assist youth with their education by motivational seminars, and through other mediums that reinforce the importance of their education. We affirm the belief that, when children are protected from abuse and neglect, when they get good quality early education, adequate health care, good schools with before and after school programs, school-to-work training and/or access to college, they are far more likely to grow into productive and creative citizens that contribute to their communities, and are far less likely to threaten society. We believe, "By investing in our most vulnerable/at risk children today, we drastically reduce their potential to become tomorrow's most wanted adults."
We further affirm the belief that our most powerful weapons in our anti-crime arsenal are the investments in children and youth that not only develop their character but enhance their ability to compete in their future marketplace. Some of these tools include life skills, mentoring, career exposure, and entrepreneurial opportunities.
As educators we have come to appreciate the enthusiasm, energy, ideas and level of commitment that young people bring to the table, by encouraging their civic responsibility and affording them the opportunity to partner with their community leaders, we engage them into an active role and participation in building and preserving their own neighborhoods and schools.
Adult Education: Parental Involvement. Statistics consistently reveal violent people are often brought up in violent homes or neighborhoods - places where violence is not only an everyday occurrence, but an accepted method of communication. They further reveal that, when parental involvement is afforded in the education/child development process, it greatly enhances the student's ability to reach his/her greatest potential, and drastically reduces the child's exposure to commit or be a victim of crime.
Quite often parents who are available and willing to commit an involvement in their child's education and development are themselves lacking basic reading, writing, and math skills to effectively meet their child's needs. It then challenges us to assist them in their learning as they are assisting their children.
Life Skills: Youth Development. Covenant Ministries is committed to sharing Life Skills with area youth to better equip them with basic living skills, appreciation of others, and respect for themselves and the world in which they live.
Statement of Need: Approximately 375 individuals in the Kansas City area are currently being served by the Catholic Charities' Hot Lunch Services program. Most of these individuals are homeless and are recovering from alcohol and/or drug additions. Although receiving meals, these individuals need additional social support services, such as the Covenant Ministries Survival Skills program, to acquire the skills necessary for independent functioning. These individuals need the confidence required to direct their own future and have the financial and emotional security to provide for their own needs.
Objectives: Approximately 50 individuals each year will complete the Survival Skills Program. Graduation from the program will enhance participants' ability to be self-sufficient, therefore no longer needing the support of social service agencies.
Methods: The Survival Skills Program is a major component of many Welfare to Work programs. Some states use the Survival Skills as a mandatory prerequisite for other types of programs or assistance. The curriculum is structured for delivery by a trained facilitator. Those who deliver the program must take an intensive three-day training and be authorized to lead the program. The sessions are based on adult learning principles and behavioral learning method. The safe, nonthreatening environment allows participants to feel comfortable with their experience, while practicing the new techniques that allow them to provide for themselves. This process raises self-esteem and confidence, in turn giving participants the power to change their own lives. The practice assignments between classes will be used to put the new skills to immediate use. Participants also learn from each other, provide peer support, and give honest feedback to each other. The program acknowledges that most participants have endured a childhood without positive role models or reinforcement and/or a history of violence and abuse, and use these experiences as part of the "survival" process.
The course will meet weekly at the Catholic Charities' Willa Gill Resource Center during the time that Hot Lunch Services are offered. The class includes ten sessions, allowing up to 15 participants per session. The Hot Lunch Services program has served individuals in the Kansas City area for over 19 years. Meals will be provided to those in need and also equip them with the skills to provide for themselves and their families. Upon completion of the ten sessions, participants will graduate from the program having learned to improve relationships, make better decisions, advocate for themselves in a positive manner, explore job options compatible with their interests and skills, and direct their future by planning ahead and setting goals. Continued support, in the form of mentoring programs and support groups, will be available to assist graduates in maintaining their competencies.
Evaluation: Evaluation of the program will include a pre-test and post-test for every session. Nine out of the 15 participants per session (60%) will graduate from the Survival Skills program by completing at least ten sessions per class. Participation will be indicated by attendance rosters. Approximately three out of the nine graduates per session (28%) will obtain employment as evidenced by documents from the individual's employer. Forty percent of all graduates will have obtained the skills necessary to be self-sufficient and therefore will no longer need the services of Hot Lunch Services, Inc. The objective will be monitored through repeated feedback from the participant on the progress. The post-tests will allow participants to objectively determine the extent to which they use their skills.