Leaders in Action (LIA)
Leaders In Action (LIA) is an after-school program conducted in partnership with Harpers Ferry and Charles Town middle schools. The program meets once a week for two hours with additional opportunities on weekends and school breaks, including extension into our summer programming.
Why we do it:
The youth in West Virginia, in this case middle school students, are continually confronted with enormous obstacles. In particular: family structure, state education standards, the lack of environmental literacy programs, and health related issues plague the youth in West Virginia middle schools. Consider the following statistics that West Virginia youth deal with every day:
From a 2009 report completed by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, 39.3% of West Virginians live 200% under the poverty level ($36,620 for a family of three). This means that thousands of West Virginians do not earn enough to cover the costs of basic necessities, including housing, food, child care, and education.
During the summer of 2010, the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation published a report called "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future." The report named West Virginia the fourth most obese state in the union.
The lifestyle choices and decisions that students make during middle school ultimately affect the type of person they become as an adult. In reaction to this, we provide a program where students can find the support and encouragement they need to help them discover who they are and who they want to become. Currently, our program operates at Charles Town and Harpers Ferry Middle Schools for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students once a week throughout the school year.
The LIA program focuses on at-risk youth and works to reduce the percentage of students that will drop out of school in the future. Through team-building exercises, challenge activities, an engaging curriculum, field trips, and guest speakers, we work to create a positive peer support group and strive to empower students to become leaders.
Our curriculum is evaluated through testing and surveys to ensure the success of our program. Although we make sure to evaluate the curriculum and opportunities that we offer the students, many experiences provided by the program cannot be measured, such as a student’s first night sleeping under the stars, a face-to-face encounter with wildlife, or an overall increase in confidence and emotional support.
Our program supports the needs of youth in West Virginia with a focus on:
· Environmental stewardship
· Unplugging students from electronic devices
· Healthy living
· Community service
· Global and Cultural awareness
· Continuing education
The program includes:
· A weekly after-school session
· An engaging curriculum
· Field trips (both after school and select weekends)
· Residential summer camp at the Outdoor Education Center (OEC)