Horizons for Youth opened and welcomed homeless youth in December 1994. Since its first opening, Horizons for Youth has provided shelter and support programs to 35 youth every night. Life Skills Program is one of Horizons for Youth’s programs, which designed to give youth the tools they need to live independently and excel in their lives. Life skills are taught in a variety of ways in this program. Youth develop these skills through formal and informal workshops, recreational activities and real life situations.
Life skills are defined as the skills individuals need to make the most out of life. These skills promote self-sufficiency and are useful in navigating the challenges individuals face throughout their lives. Life skills may include, but are not limited to, money management, employment training, housing preparation, education and training, health and well-being, daily living skills, personal and social development and legal rights and responsibilities. An effective life skills training program can help at-risk youth secure stable employment, maintain independent housing and integrate into the community.
Homeless and at-risk youth often lack many important life skills. Since many homeless youth have not had stable family situations, they have not had opportunities to learn and practice many important skills, such as managing money, cooking, shopping, running a home or maintaining social networks. These are typically skills children in stable and supportive home environments learn from observing their parents or guardians. Alternatively, some homeless youth may have developed some of these skills in their early lives, but lost them due to chronic homelessness.
Horizon’s Life Skills Program, therefore, has five key goals, which promote self-sufficiency and independence.
- Assist youth prepare for and find employment.
- Help youth prepare for independent housing.
- Teach youth important food skills so they are able to make healthy choices.
- Motivate youth to practice an active lifestyle.
- Help youth develop skills that contribute to their personal growth and social development.
According to horizonsforyouth.org