For more than 30 years, Helping Hands has been forging brighter futures for Georgetown County. As a vital resource, this nonprofit helps those faced with poverty and crisis by providing assistance and opportunities that make real change. Since 1989, their vision has been to support and serve this rural area through sustainable and compassionate programs.
The Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) specifically promotes post-graduation health and stability. Some high school students enter their final years with a strong foundation of outside-the-school support. Not all adolescents are so fortunate during this critical time in their lives and may not be prepared to face all the challenges that life after graduation can bring. For many soon-to-graduate students, a little extra support and guidance can go a long way toward helping them successfully prepare for and identify a bright future career path.
Open to all high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the Georgetown County School District, YEP sees roughly 80 area students participate each year. The program puts a particular focus on connecting at-risk local youth with the guidance and support needed to make wise life decisions, spiritual choices, and relationship selections – and on breaking the cycle of poverty.
Nurturing Career-Critical Skills
Seeking to develop and amplify positive character traits, YEP’s building blocks include career-building essentials such as team building, leadership training, career-path guidance, interviewing skills, and the development of “soft skills” like communication, self-motivation, and responsibility. Plus, getting students out of their comfort zones through monthly experiences such as ziplining outings, escape room adventures, kayaking trips, and an annual, all-expenses-paid Outward Bound team-building experience in the Florida Everglades.
A Stepping Stone to Success
YEP has served nearly 170 local graduates since its founding in 2018 – and the results speak for themselves. The program has a 100% graduation rate, and according to participant surveys, 80% of students in the program report having an improved sense of self-esteem since joining YEP. Further, 90% of YEP participants have gone on to attend college, while 10% have gone directly into the workforce and/or the military after graduation. This program is changing lives!
According to YEP program coach and mentor, Genesis Wright, “Our weekly discussions during our YEP sessions give our students time to discuss their feelings, thoughts, and whatever they might be going through. We ask and listen to our students to show them that their voices are heard. We help them create healthy outlets to deal with the difficulties of life and expose them to a different world.”
Want to learn how you can help the Youth Empowerment Program through sponsorship or volunteer opportunities?
Visit the program’s page on the Helping Hands of Georgetown, Inc. website at www.helpinghandsofgeorgetown.org/programs/youth-empowerment-program.