Youth Learning Center
All young people have the potential to succeed in life and contribute to society. However, not all children get the support they need to thrive. New Directions celebrates the talents of children who live in housing communities and their surrounding neighborhoods with on-site Learning Centers.
In Louisville's Smoketown, Newburg, California, Shawnee, and Portland neighborhoods, volunteers help community children with homework and enrichment studies. An emphasis is placed on homework completion, reading, creative activities, and an overall learning experience.
All on-site Learning Centers are equipped with computer labs, called Neighborhood Network Centers, that provide new technologies to the seniors, children, and their families.
Neighborhood mentors and volunteers help kids complete homework every night. Tens of thousands of hours of supervised study have already been accomplished, and summer programs ensure that our kids learn through field trips and daily study. Mentors are able to identify children at risk of academic failure, and solutions are positive, volunteer-enriched and proactive. Youth Learning Centers bring academic mentorship to children where they need it most - at home.
Research confirms what we knew anecdotally or intuitively before — that mentoring works. A research brief published by Child Trends and titled "Mentoring: A Promising Strategy for Youth Development" found that youth who participate in mentoring relationships experience a number of positive benefits.
- have better school attendance
- have a better chance of going on to higher education
- have better attitudes toward school
- are at a decreased risk of substance abuse
- show a reduction of some negative youth behaviors
- tend to trust their parents more
- communicate better with their parents
By volunteering at the Youth Learning Center, you can help bring about these significant positive results.
What skills should you have to be a successful volunteer?
- Have a sincere desire to be involved with a young person
- Active listener
- See solutions and opportunities
- Flexible and open
- Able to motivate others
- Friendly and approachable