Blue Stars has a wealth of resources that could change teens’ lives. How do we get them to teens across the country? In the effort to expand our practice beyond a boutique one-on-one model serving affluent families, my company has undertaken a number of initiatives:
- We helped a number of underserved students, several of them undocumented, gain admission and scholarships to four-year schools based on a one-on-one model, which was funded partially through a crowdfunding campaign called “Dream Schools are for Everyone.”
- We created two low-cost 40-hour workshops, one for college planning fundamentals and the other for admissions work later in high school, which could be installed in any educational institution. There are many possibilities for using this material both on site and online. The purpose of this white paper is to create the framework for the necessity and value of the material and invite deeper discussions about the material.
- We recently created a new mini-version of the college planning fundamentals workshop, which could serve as a 1–2 hour introduction of what it would look like for a teen to take control of their unique college path. This program could function in-person or online. It is also something that could be integrated as an add-on into teen programs serving other needs (leadership, sports, volunteering).
There are so many ways worksheets, guided interaction, and expert instruction can be integrated into teen life so that they learn their personal growth and pre-professional lessons before paralyzing panic sets in. The work my team and I have done with students has significantly contributed to improved self-regulation and made significant strides in maturity, calm, and confidence. As I follow our college planning students into college, they continue to impress me with their great decisions and steady intention.
Hopefully, this white paper can serve as a call to action in new arenas. As I’ve been observing teens, their parents, and the challenges they face over the years, I keep returning to the work of the great Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, whose courses on “learning to speak effectively” and “preparing for leadership” played to packed ballrooms in New York City and Philadelphia 80 years ago. American workers knew they needed something more to get ahead. They knew that reading, writing and arithmetic got them only so far. Soft skills were imperative, and they flooded Carnegie’s public classes to get them. I suspect that if given the opportunity, the teen response to such a growth opportunity might be similar.
I invite you to join me in exploring what might happen if teens were taught soft skills in a systematic way such that their high school years could serve as an enlightening time of growth, connection, and preparation. Let’s tap into teens, rather than leave them bewildered and feeling judged. We can do it!
It is possible to provide this kind of coaching at a low cost for many American teens. Join me in ideating and bringing new resources to teens in a more accessible way.