Children’s center offers motivational program for youth

By Kitsey Burns Harrison -

Local youth in need of an extra boost of motivation have the opportunity to participate in a 10-week course facilitated by the Yadkin Children’s Center.

The program, known as Why Try, is funded by the Yadkin Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and is hosted at Yadkinville United Methodist Church.

“The upcoming session that will begin on Jan. 12 is our fourth session in Yadkin County,” explained Agency Coordinator Christie Horton. “This program has been successful in working with youth that struggle with a variety of issues. Yadkin Department of Juvenile Justice and the Yadkin County school system has been a great support in identifying youth that benefit the most from the program.

“We have had more than one youth that were court ordered to complete the program, return voluntarily to participate in later sessions,” Horton added. “We also had a fundraiser car wash this past summer at Advance Auto in Yadkinville to raise funds for Yadkinville United Methodist Church for allowing us to use their space and multiple kids from the program volunteered to work at the fundraiser. I feel that this program is beneficial to youth that have a hard time thriving in a typical classroom setting and we are excited to continue and grow the program in Yadkin County.”

Amber Jennings, residential social worker at the Children’s Center of Yadkin, explained the Why Try program consists of 10 visual analogies which help students gain insight into how to deal with daily challenges.

“The goal of the program is to build resilience in students and help them answer the question, ‘why try in life?’ when they are frustrated, confused, or angry with life’s pressures and challenges,” Jennings said. “The Why Try program teaches students that trying hard in life and putting effort into challenges at home, at school, and with peers is worth the effort. The program, its visual analogies, and its questions stress to students that although making good decisions can be difficult, doing so results in more opportunity, freedom, and self-respect. Giving up and doing things that hurt ourselves and others only takes away opportunity, freedom, and self-respect.”

Jennings said the program is geared to serve middle and high school age youth and they typically have 10 to 12 teens per session. Trained facilitators run the program, which is very active and includes more than 140 learning activities.

“By using the activities and analogies, all students are able to retain the information in some way, depending on their learning style, which can be verbal, visual, discussion, or experience,” Jennings said. “The program has shown a lot of success with this interactive approach. Typically, there is a short discussion, then an activity, discussion, activity, etc. This keeps the youth interested and avoids a lecture-style environment.”

Jennings said they were extremely grateful to Yadkinville United Methodist Church for allowing them to use their space for the Why Try program.

“YUMC has been a huge support for us and has donated the space for free. We would have really struggled if we were charged rent,” Jennings said.

Most of the referrals for the program come from the Department of Juvenile Justice and Yadkin County Schools, Jennings said, but anybody is welcome to make a referral, even parents. For more information or to make a referral for the Why Try program, contact Christie Horton at 336-386-9144. The next session will start in spring 2016.

Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.

By Kitsey Burns Harrison

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