Ten residents recently completed training to help them launch successfully into adult independence and work. Smart Transitions, a curriculum developed for at-risk youth by the Together We Can Foundation, will soon be available to all teen residents at The Barry Robinson Center.
Residents in this inaugural class served as the Center’s beta test group for the training. Smart Transitions training has been delivered to several thousand youth in southeastern Virginia since 2011.
Tom Crockett, executive director of the Foundation, taught the Center’s class and developed strong connections with the residents. During the final session and celebration on Saturday, August 11, he helped residents compile personal portfolios and reminded them of key take-aways from the class.
“The ability to present yourself professionally to other people is a really important life skill, and it’s a skill that accounts for most of your success,” he said.
The portfolios are an integral part of the Smart Transitions Life-Work Portfolio course. Residents explored career options, created resumes and personal brands, and developed interviewing skills. They also received professional portrait photographs for their portfolios.
“Think about who you are and who you want to be. Through this course, each one of you has connected to who you really are and your unique gifts, life experiences and talents,” Crockett encouraged. “These are showing up in your portfolios and will be part of the story you’re telling.”
Crockett’s connections to the residents were evident as he passed out letters of recommendation he wrote for them. Each resident read one personalized paragraph about themselves, which was a powerful affirmation of their interests, abilities and talents.
Residents voiced positive reviews of the training. “Definitely keep it. I was trying to apply for jobs and felt like I was lost. Now I know more about how to do it,” one young man said. “Having a job will give us more structure and stability after we leave,” said another teen. “It’s nice to have reinforcement of the life skills class that the education department offers,” a young lady shared.
Parents at the event also offered compliments. “We’re really impressed with this training. We look at a lot of resumes from older applicants, 25 and 26 years old, that are not nearly as good as these ones. We interview and hire a lot, and we agree the initial presentation is so important,” a resident’s mother said.
Rob McCartney, the Center’s CEO, congratulated the residents on their accomplishment. In keeping with the Center’s military-connectedness, he presented each resident with a “challenge coin,” to reward their hard work and excellence.