Last updated: May 13. 2014 7:07PM - 862 Views
By Kitsey E. Burns kburns@civitasmedia.com

Yadkin Early College students get a one day “real world” experience through a program hosted by the Children's Center.
Yadkin Early College students get a one day “real world” experience through a program hosted by the Children's Center.
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YADKINVILLE — A group of Yadkin Early College students recently got a taste of adulthood when they participated in a unique program called Real World, hosted by the Children’s Center.

“It’s a one day simulation of the real world,” said Amber Jennings, youth coordinator at the Children’s Center. “It addresses education and employment decisions youth make in combination with lifestyle choices.”

Each of the 28 students completed a career assessment and were assigned a “real world” job and monthly salary amount. Following sessions about banking and budgeting, interview skills and social skills, they got a chance to test out their budgeting skills.

“They have their budget and they have to buy groceries, transportation, housing, child care, insurance, all the stuff an adult has to pay for so they get a little taste of how it is,” Jennings said. The students visited booths representing each of the items they had to purchase to see just how far their budget would go. Also as part of the program, students were randomly given “life happens” cards which represented the unforeseen circumstances that could affect their budget. The cards could be good or bad such as a flat tire or a raise.

The Real World program is just one of the many programs that the Children’s Center provides in Yadkin and several surrounding counties to encourage youth and support families.

The center has a group home in Yadkin and Surry County and offers a variety of programs for parents and children of all ages. Middle school age boys and girls recently completed a program held at the Fridge in Yadkinville. Boys attended a program called All About Respect where they learned about talking about their emotions, bullying and more. Girls completed the Ladybugs program which aims to empower young women and teach them about healthy living, role models, relationships, growth and self-care.

Youth MOVE, which stands for youth motivating others through voices of experience, is another program the center offers for individuals ages 15 to 22. Jennings said the youth involved in this program “may not look like your traditional leaders” and may be overcoming challenges like being in foster care or probation but are wanting to change and do better.

Learning personal responsibility is one of the things participant Caitlin Atkins said she has learned through the program.

“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself,” she said.

The Children’s Center also provides workshops for parents, including a 14-week program for parents with children ages 3 to 6 years old. Childcare is provided while parents attend class to learn about how to praise their child for good behavior, how to give directions appropriately and how to cope with stress, Jennings said.

The mission of the Children’s Center is to provide “families and children of the Yadkin Valley area support services to strengthen family relationships and prevent child abuse.” The many programs offered by the center are funded by grants and a number of local organizations such as the United Fund, Rotary Club and private donors.

The group is always in need of volunteers in the areas of tutoring, child care, program support and mentoring. For more information about the programs available or become a volunteer, visit www.yadkinchildren.com.

Kitsey E. Burns can be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.

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