Y.O.U. – Teaching BrainWise to Teens and Young Adults in Cleveland

Posted On: August 9, 2019

Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.) provides school-based programs, community-based workforce programs, and entrepreneurship education that annually serves thousands of teens and young adults. Founded in 1982, Y.O.U. is recognized for long-term positive outcomes that include job placement and retention (>70%), high school graduation (> 95%), post-secondary success (enrolled in college or vocational school), enlistment in the military, or being employed (85%). Students enrolled in their Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates (JOG) program are on a path to economic self-sufficiency.

Pam Macer, Chief Program Officer for the agency’s Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates (JOG) program, introduced BrainWise as a training program for coaches in 2013. In 2019, she arranged for a third training for Y.O.U.’s new staff. Previously trained coaches also attended and shared teaching tips with new coaches. LarKesha Burns, JOG Program Manager, supervised all three trainings and supports the coaches’ integration of the 10 Wise Ways into JOG programs.

High ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) scores are the norm for teens in Y.O.U.’s school-based programs and the young adults ages 18-24 enrolled in Y.O.U’s workforce development initiatives. Their backgrounds include experiencing five or more categories of abuse, neglect, or loss.  Additional barriers that Y.O.U. participants can possess are poor school attendance, low academic performance, past suspension, probation and/or expulsion, lack of motivation or maturity, and inadequate or no work experience.

Y.O.U staff address these challenges with evidence-based approaches that include assigning a Career Coach to each participant who guides them with frequent electronic contacts and face-to-face meetings. These long-term relationships are the hallmark of Y.O.U. The coaches, experienced educators and counselors with at least a four year Bachelor’s degree, receive additional training that includes BrainWise.

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When parents learn about BrainWise, they often say that they wish they had learned the 10 Wise Ways when they were tiny children. “My life would have been better if I had known these skills!” is a frequent comment. Their new knowledge makes them determined to teach their children the skills to “stop and think.” […]

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More Kodiak Community Leaders Become BrainWise Instructors

The Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA) in Kodiak, Alaska, is a tribal organization that provides health and social services to the Koniak region, including the villages of Akhiok, Karluk, Old Harbor, Ouzinkei, Port Lions, and Larsen Bay. The youth and families in these rural communities face many personal and health challenges. Matthew Kozak, KANA’s Prevention […]

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Use Your Wizard Brain over Your Lizard Brain!

“BrainWise – Stop and Think” summarizes our program in three words. The 10 Wise Ways help all individuals-as young a five as well as adults-learn skills that help them prevent problems and cope with the many situations that cause life stress. Learning skills to stop and think, also called executive function, has life-long benefits that […]

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