The Youth Development services at Outreach walk alongside students at various stages of life, assisting them to become all that God intends them to be. Outreach serves at-risk children and youth at various grade levels, providing educational assistance through academic tutoring, one-on-one mentoring, faith development activities, college preparation for high school students and college scholarships for college students. In addition, Outreach reaches out to youth and young adults in crisis by providing run-away intervention and court diversion services.
All programs incorporate a focus on life- and career-building skills, academic success and character development. Most programs also incorporate faith development activities. Attendance is voluntary in all of the faith development activities at Outreach.
Each year, Outreach serves more than 400 children and youth.
Education Programs (Elementary and Middle School)
From after-school programs to all day summer school, Outreach works with each student on growing academic skills and increasing success in school.
Elementary students concentrate on learning activities in math and language arts. Middle school programs work on homework completion and life skills activities, concentrating on developing healthy relationships and making healthy choices. Outreach’s after school and summer school programs help students grow in life skills and character through classroom discussions and community service. Community service activities in middle school concentrate on early job readiness skills by having students do assigned tasks at various sites around the community in the summer.
Throughout these education programs, regular faith development activities are held, with parent permission. Bible stories, Bible memorization, group worship time and prayer help students grow in their understanding of God and their relationship with Jesus Christ.
College Opportunity Program (Senior High)
At the Outreach Community Center in Carol Stream (OCC), high school students participate in education, life skills and employment activities preparing them for college, vocational training or entering the military. The College Opportunity Program (COP) removes the barriers that prevent promising young students who come from struggling family or financial circumstances from seeking higher education. COP is a holistic college assistance program, consisting of two components: college preparation for high school students (Student Achievement Leadership Program) and college scholarships and support.
The Student Achievement Leadership Program or SALT program provides weekly tutoring and ACT prep classes as well as teaching life skills and leadership development classes. The students must be motivated to attain high levels of academic achievement, employment, and strong character. Open gym nights and Bible study groups are optional activities. Occasional field trips, college visits, retreats and career nights are offered. Every summer, students are placed in real work experiences out in the community, teaching them job development skills.
After completing the high school college preparation program, students are eligible to apply for a college scholarship leading them to a four-year college or vocational certification program. Since the majority of the students at OCC will be the first in their family to attend college, removing the financial barriers that could keep them from college is a dream come true.
Children and youth from OCC and Warrenville Youth & Family Services participate in one-on-one relationships with adult volunteer mentors. Mentor pairs meet regularly to forge strong, supportive relationships that encourage healthy life choices and increased self-esteem. Shared areas of interest form the basis for a wide variety of activities that the mentor and youth do together.
In Carol Stream, the mentoring program is done in partnership with Wheaton Bible Church, who provides over half of the volunteer mentors in the program. In Warrenville, the mentoring program is hosted weekly at Immanuel Presbyterian Church.