2006.11.19: November 19, 2006: Headlines: COS - Lesotho: Youth: Arizona Daily Star: Lesotho RPCV Jeffrey Stanaway teaches life skills to at-risk teens

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Lesotho: Peace Corps Lesotho : The Peace Corps in Lesotho: 2006.11.19: November 19, 2006: Headlines: COS - Lesotho: Youth: Arizona Daily Star: Lesotho RPCV Jeffrey Stanaway teaches life skills to at-risk teens

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Lesotho RPCV Jeffrey Stanaway teaches life skills to at-risk teens

Lesotho RPCV Jeffrey Stanaway teaches life skills to at-risk teens

Jeffrey Stanaway, a returning Peace Corps volunteer, now works with the Independent Living Program. He puts together Starter Kits that provide basic necessities and supplies for teens going out on their own after being in foster or group homes. "The biggest disappointment is that these are children that have received services from so many community agencies throughout their lifetimes, but when they turn 18 no one is monitoring or helping them anymore," Young said. "I know from having my own children they could no more have taken care of themselves at that age than flown to the moon. These kids are truly at risk." Young said volunteers like Stanaway are lifelines, because many people are more interested in helping small children than teens. "It is harder to be excited about teens, but there is such a huge need, and it is really an opportunity for people to step up and help them be successful so they can contribute to the community as well," she said.

Lesotho RPCV Jeffrey Stanaway teaches life skills to at-risk teens

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Profile: Jeffrey Stanaway (Intermountain Centers for Human Development) How you can help

He teaches life skills to at-risk teens

By Loni Nannini

Special to the Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.19.2006

Jeffrey Stanaway believes in volunteering, but he doesn't believe in saving the world. His goals are much more modest.

"I guess when I was younger I wanted to change the world," he said, "and now I'm a little older and a little more jaded and I've seen more of the world and . . . I know me and (an) army couldn't do it together. But if I can just accomplish one thing and look back and say the world is a little better because of it, then I am happy. I want to leave this place a little better than I found it."

Right now, Stanaway's "one thing" is volunteering with teenagers through the Intermountain Centers for Human Development's Independent Living Program, which serves more than 250 teenagers in foster care and group homes in Tucson.

The 30-year-old Peace Corps fellow and University of Arizona graduate student, who served two years in Lesotho, South Africa, said people might be surprised by the similarities between the youth populations in Lesotho and Tucson. Stanaway said that in both places his volunteerism has involved at-risk youth with limited resources, little education and inadequate support structures.

"I don't come from a wealthy family or a poor family either, so for those of us in the middle class and even upper-middle class, it is easy to forget there are people in America who don't know where their next meal will come from," he said.

Stanaway hopes to ease such worries for young people facing independence when they reach age 18 and leave Child Protective Services. He is developing a curriculum and resource directory on topics ranging from money management and drug and alcohol awareness to job hunting and personal health and safety.

The Independent Living Program tries to teach teens things about daily living they would traditionally have learned from parents, said Karen Young, director of development for Intermountain Centers. She said all Intermountain programs including those serving more than 700 Southern Arizona children through school- and home-based programs are strength-based, seeking to identify and build on individual strengths so children become assets to the community. Young said a key factor to success for Independent Living participants is preventing homelessness; she said 30 percent to 40 percent become homeless and only 66 percent receive a high school diploma.

The program advocates change through education and identification of sources of emergency support, including food banks, transportation assistance, health care and utilities.

"The biggest disappointment is that these are children that have received services from so many community agencies throughout their lifetimes, but when they turn 18 no one is monitoring or helping them anymore," Young said. "I know from having my own children they could no more have taken care of themselves at that age than flown to the moon. These kids are truly at risk."

Young said volunteers like Stanaway are lifelines, because many people are more interested in helping small children than teens.

"It is harder to be excited about teens, but there is such a huge need, and it is really an opportunity for people to step up and help them be successful so they can contribute to the community as well," she said.

● Contact Loni Nannini at ninch@comcast.net.



Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: November, 2006; Peace Corps Lesotho; Directory of Lesotho RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Lesotho RPCVs; Youth; Arizona





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Story Source: Arizona Daily Star

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Lesotho; Youth

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