This week’s outing focused on building proper communication skills for friendships and relationships. The outing started off by coaches pairing off with the students and were then assigned a scenario by the head coach--these scenarios ranged from asking a bus driver to stop or having a conversation with a parent during breakfast. The coach and student picked their roles and acted out the scenario then switched roles. After each pair was comfortable with each scenario, the skits were presented to the class. This activity was a fun way to bond with the students more and understand what the students would do/say in specific situations. In the next activity, students and coaches broke into two groups to access appropriate and inappropriate conversations. Given a poster board and glue, the appropriate dialogue such as “may I please borrow your pencil?” was posted onto the appropriate poster while the inappropriate dialogue such as “I hate your dress” was posted onto the inappropriate poster. Breaking off into smaller groups, it was a lot easier to hear each student and realize their preexisting knowledge. They were very entertained by some of the funny dialogue we had in there as well!
Our first visit with Monday’s cohort was warmly welcomed! We began by reintroducing ourselves and building connections with our new students. Each student was encouraged to create an “About Me” poster that described him/herself. This activity was a great way to break the ice as both coaches and students were given the opportunity to learn about one another. We also named our classroom mascot — a stuffed monkey we named Billy — and passed him around as speakers volunteered to share unique qualities they were proud of about themselves. This induced a self-affirming environment that welcomed active contributions. Despite initial hesitation, almost all of our classroom soon had something personal to share. Even though we had several nonverbal students, the class was highly eager to participate and engage with each other.
This outing focused on budgeting as well as overall financial education. We started off the outing with the students make a “Needs and Wants” list, prioritizing the items they spent money on as being essential or optional. Next, the students calculated their weekly budget by adding up the costs of the items on the list - it was nice to have the students be aware of how much they spent and see where they could potentially save money. In order to practice, students "planned a vacation" and were given a certain amount of money to spend on different activities for a trip. Since this was our last outing for the year, we tried to have fun with everyone one last time by playing Pictionary. The students are amazing artists! This outing included many real-life applications and was a great way to finish off the year.
This week's outing was focused on more resume building and interviewing skills. We had a brief introduction regarding the significance of resumes and continued on to a mini-workshop discussing appropriate attire and interview etiquette/demeanor. We performed some skits that the students really enjoyed; in general the class was very engaged and responsive to our activities. After a tiny break, we asked students to pair up with coaches and ask us interview questions to encourage them to think critically and creatively. With our spare time, we divided the class into two groups for a team competition involving task completion - each team would try to work together and complete as many tasks in a given time frame to earn as many points as possible. We ended the day with crossword puzzles and continued resume building.
This week was focused on soft skills, as well as a continuation of the resume building from last week. We sat down with the students and helped them realize their past work experiences as well as the skill sets they currently possess. It was a bit difficult but starting conversations with the students really got them to open up and talk more about their careers. We then discussed what jobs they were interested in applying to in the future. Our soft skills portion consisted of teamwork activities, including a water balloon relay race and building a tower made from spaghetti noodles and marshmallows. The students thoroughly enjoyed getting their hands dirty from the tower building exercise - it was a great start to the outing! Other outings this week also had an egg drop as a team-building activity. This upcoming weekend will be our annual StRIVE Field Day, which will take place at the San Diego Zoo so if you don't see us around, we'll probably be playing with the pandas.
Our focus this week was working on job applications. First, we held a workshop with the students to build/improve their resumes. This was difficult as many of our students struggled to communicate their previous job experiences. One of the students was not very verbal but was creative enough to show us his workplace through Google Maps (sponsor us), as well as where he went to school and answer other information about his job history. This activity was incredibly important and beneficial since many of the students didn't have resumes or had outdated ones. The teachers collected the work we did and plan to use it when the students apply to jobs in the future - fingers crossed! We did a brief job exploration activity in which the students learned how to use indeed.com (sponsor us), and search for jobs. To finish up, we had a quick networking activity in which we practiced shaking hands, making eye contact, introducing ourselves, and making small talk.
As always, a new quarter means a new topic of curriculum. This quarter we are focusing on vocational skills - helping students get better at what they do and guiding them through the steps to get there. Our first outing was dedicated toward getting to know the students more. Only two students were present this time, so we wore able to invest all of our attention in getting to know them better and having them open up to us. We did some basic fun activities, such as bingo in order to meet new friends, as well as match names with vocational description statements. We also drew what we wanted to be in the future. The two students drew an elementary school and lyrics, since one enjoys working with children, and one wants to write songs and be a rapper. The one-on-one attention eventually turned out great since we got to know these two a lot better. We'd say we had a pretty great time!
Our last outing of the quarter was about healthy relationships, which included both romantic relationships and friendships. One of the activities we did was discussing boundaries in a relationship. The students lined up and based on certain scenarios, students stepped forward if they felt comfortable with that situation or backwards if they did not. It was important to point out to the students how this activity showed that different people are comfortable/uncomfortable with different things and it is very important to be respectful and mindful. We talked about how and why it is important to always have a partner that listens to what you are okay with in a relationship (consent!). We also talked about what characteristics can be found in good friendships. The students shared with each other what they thought were important qualities for their friends to have. Overall, this outing was a way for the students to think about what type of people they want to surround themselves with and what they want out of any of their relationships.
During the fifth outing, we centered the activities around the topic of mental health. We started off the outing by creating a “Poster of Positivity,” in which students wrote compliments about their peers as well as characteristics that they liked about themselves on post-it notes. When the poster was finished, everyone took turns sharing what they wrote. The students were very touched and delighted to hear all of the nice things that their friends had to say about them. We also did some yoga and practiced breathing exercises. The students loved stretching and the coaches talked about how they can be used as methods to decrease anxiety and stress. At the end, we let the students know that the coaches at StRIVE as well as anyone in TRACE will always be there to support them.
The goal of the fourth outing was to find something healthy and tasty that the students would find enjoyable and practical. It was super easy: they each filled a cup with frozen fruit, then picked a scoop of yogurt and a splash of juice. All of our students were able to do it themselves, which was really awesome. We had a nice chat about healthy eating and did a little preview of our next outing about mental health. A few of the students mentioned that they plan to buy supplies to make smoothies at home! It was super awesome seeing the curriculum having a direct impact on the students' lives and be practical for them.