It was a perfect fit. Faith A. McGlown, program director of College and Career Coach, and of Success Mentors—both part of Partners In Education of Toledo, Ohio, a nonprofit dedicated to improving education through community involvement—was looking for materials to guide and motivate middle and high school students in 2012. That’s when she discovered SUCCESS for Teens, a personal-development curriculum by the SUCCESS Foundation.
“We wanted something that students could identify with and envision themselves as having the positive future they hoped for with goal-setting, positive character traits, good problem-solving and decision-making skills, and the self-efficacy to overcome barriers,” she says.
Since then McGlown has used SUCCESS for Teens: Real Teens Talk about Using the Slight Edge, the cornerstone book of the curriculum, in which teens talk about tackling real-life issues with easy, manageable steps. She says the book “almost seamlessly aligns” with the mission, goals and desired outcomes of Partners In Education, a nonprofit that “develops and fosters partnerships between area schools and northwest Ohio businesses, government agencies, organizations and churches,” according to its website. (The SUCCESS Foundation donates hard copies of the book to qualifying public schools, churches and nonprofit youth-development programs; SUCCESSFoundation.org offers free downloads of the book and facilitator’s guide to everyone.)
“It’s a tool we use for direct instruction in small and large groups or as an individual resource for students,” McGlown says.
At first, students in the program responded to SUCCESS for Teens with “heavy sighs and rolling eyes,” she says. “But the book has an undeniable attraction and fascination with our students. The book becomes an individual road map for each student based on his or her own perspectives and experiences.
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“We encounter a lot of aha and lightbulb moments.”
By the time students reach the last chapter, many aren’t ready for it to end. “Many reread the book and use it as a guide to envision their own success,” McGlown says.
Eighth-grader Heaven Quinn, part of the College and Career Coach program, notes, “After I’m done with high school, I want to go to college so I can get a degree to support my family.”
In fact, SUCCESS for Teens has already directly impacted many of the students’ families. McGlown says this started during a coach workshop, a component of the College and Career Coach program where directors educate and update parents about topics they’ve covered in lessons.
“After discussing SUCCESS for Teens books with the group… we had many parents seeking copies of the book for themselves to work along with their students,” she says. “Some parents—clearly not teens and in many stages of life—sought to use the book independently as a resource on their own journeys and thought the book would be a great starting point.”
To request books, learn about the program, share your story about it or make a contribution, visit SUCCESSFoundation.org. Leaders, participants and donors can request a profile in SUCCESS by emailing info@SUCCESSFoundation.org.
This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.