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04 September 2013

New educational resource ‘a life jacket’ for youth

New educational resource ‘a life jacket’ for youth

A new online toolkit called myLife, launched by Alliance member organisation Youth for Christ, will help young people develop character and acquire essential life skills. The Reflex team have produced the new resource particularly for use by prison workers, youth workers and teachers

MyLife is a life and social skills programme comprising of both an accredited group course and one-to-one mentoring sessions. It has been described as a "life jacket" for young people who are not in education, employment, or training (NEETs).

According to a BBC news report, a survey of over 1,000 parents for the University of Birmingham's Jubilee centre for character and values has found that: "Many schools do not know how to teach character." Character has also been identified as a key factor in reducing offending and reoffending. The After the Riots report found that: "The key to avoiding future riots is to have communities that work – where parents and schools ensure children develop the values, skills and character to make the right choices at crucial moments" 

MyLife responds to a recent report by the Centre for Social Justice which highlights the need for improved educational standards for those in youth custody. Edward Boyd, deputy policy director at Centre of Social Justice, describes a "youth justice system in crisis with more than two thirds (70%) going on to re-offend within 12 months of release" and pinpoints "the link between educational failure and crime".

Reflex outreach workers aim to raise aspirations and self-esteem of young people and empower them with the skills, confidence and character they'll need to realise their full potential and break the cycle of offending.

Head of Reflex, Darren Richards, said: "With one million youth out of work, deplorable cyber bullying and huge pressures placed on young shoulders to never fall short, it's never been harder to climb the steep ladder to adulthood. MyLife is like an essential life jacket we can give them to weather the storms of teenage life; whether that's making ends meet, managing emotions, finding their voice and passions or learning from mistakes."

The unique programme of ‘pick and mix’ sessions aims to help young people develop positive character traits, learn independent living skills, make good choices and become positive contributors to society. Topics covered include: managing money / budgeting, job-seeking, healthy relationships, roles and responsibilities, anger and pain management, emotions, social skills and more.

More about the myLife course and kit