I have been presenting the CHOICES Workshop since 2003 and have been the Optimist Club Project Manager for the last 4 years. The progarm is fun for the 8th grade students and many have a chance to participate and see the outcome of good and bad choices regarding their decisions about education in high school. Without exception, our Presenters say " I wish someone had told me these things when I was in Middle School". The majority of the students rate the Workshop as 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5. The teachers love the program and have requested that we present it early in the school year so that they can refer to it and build on it during the year.
I have been involved with the CHOICES Program for several years both as a presenter and as the local presenter coordinator. I knew we were onto a good thing when early into the program we received an email from our district's At-Risk coordinator telling us that the student she considered to be her most "at-risk" for dropping out came to her at the conclusion of the program excited about what he had heard and promising that he would make sure to finish high school. CHOICES does make a difference, and I am privileged to be a part of it.
The CHOICES program is an integral element presented yearly in our local junior high school. This was my second year to be involved with the program. I would love to see it presented at every junior high school in our parish. CHOICES is unique, in that real life, pertinent information is presented by someone other than the student's teacher or parent. Those presenting are leaders in the community from various backgrounds. Students see these individuals in the community and know they are committed to the cause. CHOICES promotes and asks for a commitment for the student to graduate high school....this is a very important aspect that I believe makes a difference.
I have been presenting CHOICES in the classroom for 3 years. The video and notecard training is excellent. With this training and the visual aids and well played lesson plans, anyone who has the desire to help our youth, can! The program builds the eight grade students self-esteem and makes them realize that they are in control of their lives. They are in control of most of the factors in their life and are given a dog tag reminding them: "I am who I choose to become." The students are taught goal setting and visualization. They imagine what life will be like at age 25. They are taught about money and all the bills that need to be paid in the real world. Self-discipline is stressed! The students are given a key chain reminder that the "Key to Success is self-discipline." If they are to be successful, time management is another key. One of my students used this quote to describe CHOICES: "If you make bad choices I will go NOwhere. If I make good choices, you can go ANYwhere!"
firstname.lastname@example.org I consider the Choices Program as one of the most valuable tools available to allow "real world" employes or retired to enter the Class rooms and emhasize the value and importance of getting a solid HS education. It is the bedrock to follow on employments/continued education of the students CHOICE! Not limited by poot HS education. We presenters can tell of our pluses/minuses from a non-parent, non teacher, standpoint - from the HEART! I have been directing/given classes for 22 years and hope to continue! I have had my Choices students in the 11/12 grades when they see me thet THANK ME!! WOW!!
The Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce in Pennsylvania has been bringing the CHOICES workshop to our local schools since the 2006-2007 school year. We started in 4 school districts and are now in 10 school districts. The materials are excellent. Teachers and guidance counselors are engaged and have appreciated the support from the business community. The CHOICES Education Group staff is wonderful to work with!
The CHOICES program has been a major outreach initiative for Santee Cooper, South Carolina's Public Power Company, since 2001. CHOICES is a unique example of how education and businesses work together to benefit sutdents as they prepare for adult life. As one of our former Executive Vice President's and CHOICES presenter shared, "It's a very, very good program. It is well-conceived, practical and gives a perspective to young people of things they need to learn. It allowed me to connect with the students. One of the important aspects of the program is that we are not a teacher or administrator they see every day. We're someone new and that may make us and our message more appealing to them."
CHOICES has definitely been a program that has had a profound impact not only on the students served, but on the presenters (Santee Cooper employees) as well. Sponsoring this program in the three school districts we serve has been a perfect "CHOICE."
I have volunteered as a presenter with CHOICES for the last 3 years and I thoroughly enjoy working in all the different schools and connecting with the teens. It's eye opening to see the differences not only between classes, but schools in the same district. Exploring their choices with them through this fun, engaging and very hands-on interactive program has opened my eyes to the teens of today and all that they have going on in their world. It isn't easy being a teen today and if we can help guide them through this complicated time in their lives, it's worth it. I truly believe they have taught me more than I have taught them over the years. I had a student last year write " I was thinking about dropping out but you changed my mind". This is why we do this folks !
I started volunteering with CHOICES over two years ago and have loved the program ever since. Having worked in the non-profit sector myself in Development and Fundraising for the last twenty years , I can say first hand that CHOICES is doing it right - from getting their message across to teens to delivering a quality program and by using volunteers, keeping costs and overheads low. A challenge for any non-profit in this day and age! But most of all, my main reason for volunteering is the impact CHOICES has on our teens. It's such a fun interactive program that kids get the message without feeling like they've been lectured at or told what to do by yet another adult. It's been such a wonderful experience for me and I've even used some of the lessons with my own two teenagers with success!
Our Rotary Club in Calumet, Michigan used this program several years in a row with incoming high school freshman. Some graduating seniors thanked us at their graduation last year, remembering the program from when they were freshmen!
I am a workshop presenter and I have seen how the games and important messages conveyed through the games engage the students with ease. The workshops truly spark lots of excitement, fun and meaningful dialouge and concrete understandings about how making good choices now equals great choices in ones future.
CHOICES Education should be in every middle and high school because it truly brings the big picture to the students in a manner that they can relate to and enjoy learning.
Bank of America Workshop Presenter