By Linette Y. Caroselli
Raising a teenager is no easy feat. Ask them and they will tell you it’s not easy being one.
Young adults deal with the task of trying to navigate through the highs and lows of growing up – academics, peer pressure, dating, jobs and acquiring their own independence and, most importantly, an identity. Thankfully, there’s an organization that helps teens and parents ease through this transition as partners successfully: Families First CDC.
Families First Community Development Corporation, run by President Dr. Brian Ewing and his wife, Executive Program Director Yolanda Ewing, helps families keep the family unit together by laying seeds of positive change. Each program offered by FFCDC is designed to facilitate a strategy from which participants can rebuild and reposition the family unit so there is hope for future parents of tomorrow and their families. The organization teaches families to work together as a seamless collective body to ensure that differences are recognized and celebrated rather than being tolerated. In this way, parents and teens become one unit.
One of the programs offered to assist parents and teens in meeting success is the Ready For Life Program. It is a mentoring and meal program offering youth the opportunity to receive life-skill enrichment instruction and the option to participate in family and personal empowerment activities that allow each participant to enhance the quality of their life.
In the Youth Outreach component of the Ready for Life Program, session topics presented include life skills, character development, health & wellness, job readiness, drug/alcohol awareness, career awareness and much more. Teens increase their self-esteem in this program by meeting new friends, learning public speaking skills and team-building.
The highlight of the program is the annual Red Carpet Fundraising Fashion Show. This event showcases the “Ready For Life Crew” as the models and dancers. Participants learn modeling skills, choreograph portions of the show, and model dresses and tuxedos for the upcoming prom season. Community businesses sponsor the show demonstrating support for the program such as Be Awesome Youth Coalition, David’s Bridal, Men’s Warehouse and Group USA.
As a program volunteer and parent of a program participant, I am privileged to see the fruits of the Ewings’ labor. It is very well worth it to get your kids involved. There is a tremendous difference in my daughter. Her self-esteem blossomed, and the interview skills she learned helped her get a part time job. She also manages her money well due to the financial literacy classes.
Linette Y. Caroselli is a member of Families First CDC.
This column appears in the May issue of InMaricopa.