7 ways to help youth reengage

Students attending the Reboot Plus program through Bow Valley College are 10 weeks into their 16-week program. Facilitator Amelia Fick has been working with a diverse group of young people to help them plan for their future. Her observations and experience in helping youth in this program outline 7 ways to help youth reengage in their education and career development to realize their best potential.

  1. Individualized plans for success

Teacher helping student“Many of our students had negative school experiences and fell through the cracks. Hence, our role is to see them as individuals with individual needs to help them plan for success. Rather than have them fit a model of education, we need to creatively fit their needs.”

  1. Establishing routine

“The students I am working with do not have a routine and are not attending school. We’re trying to build this back into their lives. So many of them have anxiety that can’t handle much pressure. Therefore, we walk a delicate line between not asking too much of our students while encouraging program completion. I pivot my deliveries to support my students. My message is that I want them to get the support in whatever way works. This looks like working with them outside of classroom hours to make up for missed materials; or continuing to reach out and welcome them back to the class if they’ve missed a few.”

  1. Showing up

“In the face of adversity my students are rallying through. I know many of them are worried about money or trying to find part time jobs. There are also mental health struggles and home life challenges that would break your heart. It’s an uphill battle for them, but they are showing up and doing the work. These students have my utmost admiration. I think about them a lot.

It took some time to build trust with these youth and we now have a good vibe in my classroom.

So many of my students have just been let down. Showing up for them is a big thing. I am an adult who genuinely cares about them and sees them for who they are. In these 10 weeks we have all had a chance to get to know each other and learn from each other. It’s nice to create a safe space and to have them come. Consequently my students count on each other to show up.”

  1. Maintaining momentum

“Each week, my students are excited to find out what we’ll be working on; they are engaged. Their optimism means everything to me. When it came time for Spring Break, my students argued against it. Rather, they wanted to keep the momentum going. Instead, we arranged for college tours so they could better understand their options for admission. This opportunity helps remove the barrier they may have in their mind about post-secondary. I remind them that we are focusing on the one step in front of them while they learn about admission processes.”

  1. Collaborating with our community

“At this point, my students have solid career plans. We’re getting ready for them to start having informational interviews with professionals from our community. The Calgary Chamber’s partnership’s been invaluable to this program.  Employers are signing up daily and are excited to participate. Our business community really wants to give back. The community holds a special place for youth in their hearts; especially our youth that have been having a hard time.”

  1. Sharing experiences

Teacher in front of his class“One speaker from the Calgary Chamber visited the class to share his journey with my students. He felt like he was a slow starter, and shared how he found his way to his unique path. While he inspired my students, he was also encouraged by the engaging questions my students asked him. President and CEO, Deborah Yedlin of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to meet our class as well. It is unbelievably exciting.”

  1. A model of success

“I’ve worked on youth programs before, but one thing I noticed with Reboot Plus is how interested people are in hearing about it. We’re getting requests asking if the program will be extended or when the next session is scheduled to start. It is such a rewarding program. It is absolutely a heartstrings program. I am grateful that I am a part of it.”

The Reboot Plus project is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Centre.

Le projet Reboot Plus est financé par le Centre des Compétences futures du gouvernement du Canada.