How TWV supports long-term positive outcomes for youth

September 26, 2018

Our values – adventure, respect, authenticity, resilience and community – weave together throughout our team, our office and workshop, and our programs. They are the foundation of our mission and the guiding principles for our vision. They work together to help us support long-term positive outcomes for the young people in our programs. 

 

The Search Institute has identified 40 positive ingredients in the recipe for success for young people.[1] These consist of external assets, which include positive relationships and opportunities within families, schools and communities, as well as internal assets, such as social-emotional strengths and values.   

 

 

Our programs provide the external assets necessary for success

 

External assets represent the supports, opportunities and relationships young people need to help protect them against high-risk behaviours. By increasing the positive external assets in a young person’s life, we can contribute to their ability to thrive.  

 

Support

 

Everyone on our team is passionate about providing young people with positive experiences. By role modeling important elements of supportive relationships – such as healthy communication, constructive feedback, positive encouragement and sound advice – we are able to offer additional support beyond that which kids receive at home or in school. They say it takes a village to raise a child – TWV is proud to provide a supportive environment, full of care, appreciation and acceptance, for our community of young people. 

 

Empowerment

 

By giving young people the opportunity to explore a problem and the safe space to try out different solutions, we empower youth to respond productively to challenges, rather than engage in destructive behaviour in response to difficulties. Our bike trips give young people a unique opportunity to overcome the limitations they put on themselves, empowering them to believe they are capable of far more. We also give young people opportunities to engage with their communities – be it school, city or nature – in positive ways; this gives them the knowledge and confidence that they can be positive contributors to the world around them. 

 

Boundaries & Expectations

 

Young people need rules, consistent consequences and encouragement in order to grow and develop into successful adults. Our programs provide positive adult role models and encourage healthy peer relationships in environments where boundaries are established and expectations are clear. Within a safe learning environment, we offer space to explore ideas, express unique identities and test out different solutions, while the expectation of respect is always upheld. 

 

Constructive use of time

 

Most TWV programs take place after school, during the critical hours when studies show that young people are most like to engage in anti-social behaviour. Participation in after school programs, between the hours of 2pm and 6pm, is associated with a reduced risk of drug use and criminal behaviour in young people[2],[3] At TWV, we provide opportunities for young people to develop new skills and interests with other youth and adults, so that their free time is used in positive ways. 

 

 

We encourage the development of internal assets 

 

According to the Search Institute, internal assets – the skills, commitments and values young people need to make good choices – are important for young people from all backgrounds, regardless of gender, ethnic or cultural heritage, economic situation, sexual orientation or geographic location. These assets help youth to take responsibility for their lives in positive ways.

 

Commitment to learning

 

A study of Canadian children found that young people who regularly participate in programs like ours are more likely to complete their homework, achieve higher grades and result in lower school dropout rates.[4] Our programs provide intentional learning environments – everything we do is consciously planned with a deliberate and specific objectives in mind – to help meet the needs of young people and help them develop an internal commitment to learning. 

 

Positive values

 

By consistently upholding our own values, especially respect and authenticity, we model positive behaviour and help young people to explore their own personalities and choices. Not only do we challenge the young people with bicycle-related activities, but our programs also give kids the opportunity to experience a diversity of values through exposure to the different cultures, backgrounds and personal histories in their peer group.

 

Social competencies

 

Kids in after school programs have improved social skills and are better able to form healthy relationships with adults.[5] They also have stronger and healthier peer group connections. During our programs we give the young people opportunities to practice communication, problem-solving and friendship skills and we engage them in active discussions around concepts of diversity and empathy. Through our work, we aim to help young people develop the skills necessary to cope with new situations, make difficult decisions and interact effectively with others.

 

Positive identity

 

Authenticity is one of our core values, and through both role modeling and discussion, we encourage the young people in our programs to explore and develop their own sense of self. By providing challenges in safe learning environments, we are able to help youth develop confidence in their abilities, start to form a sense of purpose and begin to think about their future in positive ways. This gives young people a sense of self-worth and empowers them to take control over their lives. 

 

Community-based youth development programs, like those available through Two Wheel View, are proven to positively impact young people, both during and long after the program is over. Surveys of youth who have participated in community-based programs have shown that they have a far greater sense of personal value, hopefulness and agency than peers in their communities who have not attended youth development programs.[6]Even years later, research shows that these young people are on positive pathways in life. By sticking to our values, and continuously improving the programs we offer, TWV will continue to provide the external assets and help young people develop the internal assets necessary for a successful life.  

 

[1] Search Institute. (2018). The Developmental Assets Profile. https://www.search-institute.org/our-research/development-assets/developmental-assets-framework/. Retrieved August 5, 2018.

 

[2] Cunha, F. & Heckman, J. (2006). Investing in our Young People. http://jenni.uchicago.edu/papers/inv-young-rep_all_2007-01-31b_mms.pdf. Retrieved September 19, 2018.

 

[3] Afterschool Alliance. (2009). Afterschool Programs: Making a Difference in America's Communities by Improving Academic Achievement, Keeping Kids Safe and Helping Working Families.http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/april2009%20Outcomes_2_Pager.pdf. Retrieved September 25, 2018.

 

[4] Mishna, F. et al.(2013). The RBC-Foundation Afterschool Programs Evaluation. University of Toronto. http://www.rbc.com/community-sustainability/community/after-school-grants/RBC-Foundation-After-School-Programs-Evaluation.pdf

 

[5] RBC. (2013). After the bell: Canadian students in after-school programs gain higher grades, improved social skills. http://www.rbc.com/newsroom/news/2013/20130822-after-school.html. Retrieved September 24, 2018. 

 

[6] McLaughlin, M. (2000). Community Counts: How Youth Organizations Matter for Youth Development. Public Education Network, Washington, DC. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED442900. Retrieved September 19, 2018.

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