“Too Cool for Trouble” After School Program Provides Educational Fun

by Will Potter

Youth Connection Waco is always thinking of new and innovative ideas to benefit young adults and help improve their lives and chances of success. One of the most successful programs implemented by the organization is its afterschool program: “Too Cool for Trouble.”

The program aims to help middle school students by providing them with fun and educational activities after school. It is offered on several campuses in the Waco area and addresses topics such as good character traits and how to achieve personal wellness. “Too Cool for Trouble” teaches skills to students like goal setting, how to take responsibility and leadership. This afterschool program was set up and continues to equip middle school students with the tools to make positive choices in their lives.

Many Baylor students have volunteered with Youth Connection Waco in the past and have had great things to say about the “Too Cool for Trouble” program and the impact that it has had on the kids who participate.

“I started working with the afterschool program at two different Middle Schools in Waco. Every week for an hour I would spend time with 6th, 7th and 8th graders who joined Youth Connection’s Too Cool for Trouble group. We would play interactive games that engaged the students and also taught them character traits such as honesty, selflessness, and courage. It was surprising to me to find twelve year olds who could not give the definition of honesty. Once I completed my hours I was then hired to work for Youth Connection and lead their Too Cool program. I led Too Cool until I graduated from Baylor and ended up working at 6 different Middle Schools. It is hard to estimate the exact number of students that were reached through this program, but I know that the impact of Too Cool was felt by these students who would be waiting for us each week.”–anonymous Baylor student and former Youth Connection volunteer.

Not only has this program impacted young people in the Waco community but it also has a lasting effect on those who volunteer and help out with Youth Connection.

“We want to see the afterschool program continue to help young people be better prepared to succeed in the world,” said Carolyn Nichols, executive director of Youth Connection.

The goal of “Too Cool for Trouble” is to provide an atmosphere conducive to the dissemination of information and the building of self-confidence that adolescents need to resist peer pressures and understand society’s mixed messages. The program covers subjects such as setting goals, making decisions, planning for the future and self-esteem issues and aims to make the lives of at risk youths better.

For more information, contact Carolyn at at (254) 202-8480 or cnichols@sw.org.

Youth Connection Will Present the 18th Annual Conference on Effective Ways to Reach Youth

Youth Connection will host its 18th annual conference, “Moving Forward: Effective Ways to Reach Our Youth,” to present new programs, methods and strategies for professionals who work with youth on April 11, 2014 at the McLennan Community College Conference Center.

This event is popular with the teaching, nursing, social work, coaching and youth work professionals. “Moving Forward” is specifically geared to these professionals in empowering them to be highly impactful in their work with young people. Registration fee is $75 (Special Student Rate:$20, Copy of current Student I.D. must accompany registration form)–covers conference fee, lunch and program materials. CE Credits will be available for an additional charge of $10.

The keynote speaker, Gary McGuey, is passionate about helping organizations build a principle-centered work environment that can help people improve their professional and personal lives.

This conference included essential educational information to teachers, counselors, parents, and other attendees on helping and understanding difficulties in today’s youth.Teachers have consistently expressed high satisfaction with the speakers and the program content and have given the conference high evaluation rating,” Nichols said. “The majority believed they were able to learn valuable skills or gain important insights as a result of the meeting. Our goal is to continue realizing these high achievements in each one of our conferences.”

For more information, or to register, contact Youth Connnection executive director Carolyn Nichols at (254) 202-8480 or cnichols@sw.org.

Save the Date!!!

Youth Connection will be sponsoring the 18th Annual Central Texas Regional Conference on April 11, 2014. The guest speaker and details will be announced very soon. A registration fee of $75 is required for participation in conference activities and includes lunch and program materials. The student fee is $20, but is available only to those with current Student IDs. More information will be posted at a later date. You do not want to miss this outstanding opportunity for growth! Mark your calendars!