A Day in the Life of…

All Teens Face Challenges. RMFY Can Help.

It’s no secret that along with the “storm and stress” of adolescence can come all kinds of developmental milestones: becoming more independent; finding peer groups in which one feels a sense of belonging; figuring out how to juggle school, work, family, and extracurricular activities; learning how to cope with challenges; gaining self-confidence and resiliency skills to avoid risky behaviors and withstand negative peer pressures; and beginning to create plans for a successful future. A major goal for teens is developing a strong and positive sense of identity, and making healthy connections with others that help them see their value and potential in the world. This is the ideal experience. But what happens when teens have additional stressors and challenges that have been found to decrease well-being and quality of life? What are the non-developmental issues that are facing many of our youth right here in Mecklenburg County? Picture this…

Travis is a rising eighth grader, and the oldest of three siblings. One year prior his father passed away, leaving his mother to care for the family by herself. Travis feels the pressure of now being “the man of the house,” and wants to help his mother provide. He’s taken it upon himself to be even more responsible for his younger siblings, and is even trying to figure out how he can earn some money to help his mother with the bills.  He thinks about this every time he sits in math class.

Cynthia has always been a “high-flying” student who remains on the AB honor roll. She is responsible with her schoolwork, engages in the classroom, and has ideas about what she wants to be when she grows up. While Cynthia performs well academically, her parents are starting to notice that she never talks about having any friends. In fact, she came home from school one day in tears because a group of kids were harassing her for being a “lame teacher’s pet.” Since that day, Cynthia has said that she hates school and never wants to go back.

Miguel’s parents immigrated to the U.S. when he was seven. Now entering the ninth grade, Miguel is having some difficulty figuring out how to go about preparing for college. While his family is supportive of him doing well in school and continuing his education beyond high school, they don’t really understand the requirements and financial aid processes. Miguel has heard about going to community college, but doesn’t really know how to do it.

Elizabeth lives in what has been considered a “shady” neighborhood.  It is a close-knit community, but there are noticeable economic challenges. Elizabeth is a good student, but has a heightened awareness of her economic disadvantage when she walks into her school filled with affluent peers. It makes her nervous, and she often feels out of place.

RMFY’s school-based, student support and youth development program serves over 1,600 middle and high school students in 27 Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools using a group counseling model. With a structured curriculum and research-informed practices, RMFY groups meet weekly for one to focus on life skills development, college/career readiness, service learning and civic engagement, social and emotional support, academic accountability, and incentive programming. In RMFY, students are empowered to connect with and support each other, practice new skills in their groups, and use those skills outside of the group to positively impact their schools and their neighborhoods.

Check out the RMFY website for updates regarding the 2019-2020 RMFY school sites.