Our middle and high school programs all are are aligned with increasing critical thinking skills and the intrinsic motivation of youth to academically succeed. Using a variety of programs and activities, Alternatives inspires young people to discover their spark and achieve their inherent potential.
Many of our middle/high programs cover the same enrichment opportunities as our elementary programs.
Civic Engagement, Leadership & Service
These are the programs that allow youth the opportunities to develop new competencies while fostering civic participation in work that will improve community life.
Any year, our Civic Engagement and Service-Learning Programs might include:
+ Civic Activism
+ Problem Solving
= Youth Civic Engagement
Alternatives Scholars Academy:
Alternatives Scholars Academy is a 21st Century afterschool program for middle school students in Hampton and Newport News. The focus of A.S.A is to build resilient, well-rounded youth by emphasizing relationship-building and relationship skills, enhancing self-awareness, improving self-management, expanding social awareness, and encouraging responsibility and responsible decision making. Our sites are managed by professional youth workers, highly qualified educators, interns, and those new to the workforce looking to develop specific soft and hard skills. On a typical program day, students will receive a snack, will engage in recreation and movement, mindfulness and social and emotional learning, academic support and learning, and enrichment.
Community-Wide Service Events:
Each year on designated national service holidays (9/11 Day of Remembrance, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, and Global Youth Service Day), Alternatives' staff and the young people they serve host three or more large-scale service projects to address local needs in the community. Over the years, projects have included food drives, elder visits, books drives, and the planting of a youth-led community garden. Projects are open to any young person on the Peninsula who would like to 'Take a Day to Make a Difference.
Relationship Education Leading Adolescents Toward Empowerment is a high school relationship education curriculum developed by young people and adults working together that helps to prevent sexual violence among teens through the promotion of healthy relationships. Through RELATE, youth are trained on the topic and then facilitate the 5 sessions for their peers. RELATE increases awareness for both males and females of what constitutes sexual harassment, produces positive changes in knowledge of sexual violence myths and warning signs of abuse, and increases awareness of the indicators of sexual harassment.
After participating in RELATE, participants report that they:
Are more likely to recognize victims of sexual assault are usually attacked by intimate partners
Recognize that teenagers represent a high percentage of sexual violence
Recognize that assertive techniques are the best way to prevent harassment
Are aware of behaviors that constitute sexual harassment
Are aware of signs of unhealthy relationships
World Changers - Hampton
The Alternatives World Changers Youth Leadership Team-Hampton, is comprised of City of Hampton Middle and High School Students who are interested in youth advocacy, implementing change in schools and communities and voicing concerns regarding current issues. Their purpose is to inspire youth to speak their minds, share their opinions, and become a voice to the voiceless! Ambassadors are exposed to community and civic leaders by visiting the General Assembly, Advocating on Capitol Hill, presenting to Senators, City and State Officials, Hampton City Council and State and local conferences.
World Changers - Newport News
The Alternatives World Changers Youth Leadership Team-Newport News, is comprised of the City of Newport News Middle and High School Hispanic/Latin X Students who advocate for community and personal needs, social issues and concerns, social injustice bias, and more. The students are very passionate about standing in the gap to evoke change in schools and communities.
The Ambassadors are trained and given task to promote and enhance their leadership skills and abilities. They are empowered to plan, implement and facilitate meetings. Each member is required to participate on a committee of their choice that is created by the Ambassador Youth Team. They become well versed in public speaking, creating presentations and presenting to City Officials. Students attend and present their concerns and solutions before City Council, Newport News Police Department heads, and City stakeholders to name a few.
To enhance their future career opportunities, the Ambassadors visit and tour the Richmond General Assembly, The Capitol in Washington DC, and City Council Chambers.
Students participate in a variety of Social and Emotional Development, mindfulness techniques, Fun activities, and more.
Youth Leadership Academy
The Youth Leadership Academy is a community-based program in York County and Poquoson that develops leadership skills in middle school youth. The program focuses on the core leadership competencies of: self-confidence, interpersonal intelligence, decision making, goal setting, creativity, and civic engagement. Students develop self-esteem as they learn more about themselves, and they improve social skills as they participate in fun and engaging activities with their peers. Students are also challenged to create a personal vision for their lives, and set goals to accomplish that vision. More than just building personal competencies, the program also activates students in civic engagement. By the end of the program the participants will have identified the assets and needs they see in their community, and will plan and implement a community service project to meet one of those needs. Finally, students will learn about leadership on the level of local government by attending and participating in a Board of Supervisors meeting in York County.