Friendship House has recently added a new program to the many they already offer. Speaking at the Family Connection Collaborative meeting, Josh Paske, Friendship House Administrative Director, stated that the program was possible because of a WIA (Workforce Investment Act) grant. The new program will be available to 58 area youth between the ages of 14 to 21 and according to Paske, will offer a wide range of services. As a certified WIA program eligibility is mandated by Federal Law.
|Josh Paske and Johnny Payne|
The WIA is provided to youth that have been deemed 'most in need' and who can benefit from the training. The WIA Program at Friendship House will offer youth a variety of ways to succeed. This program will also work in conjunction with the Decatur County School Board, the Department of Education and other local educational service providers. Provisions are also made to meet the educational needs of students with disabilities.
This is not a one size fits all. There will be 3 ways that participants can receive either a GED or high school diploma Paske stated. He also said that it is a 'whatever it takes' program on Friendship House's part to keep the youth motivated: mentoring, transportation, being a friend, helping find part-time employment, etc.
One is the Out-Of-School Program. This targets the youth that qualify and who are no longer enrolled in high school.
The In-School program will provide the youth with a variety of support programs, to help them stay in school and graduate. This program will target the juniors and seniors at Bainbridge High and Bainbridge High Westside.
Another program that Friendship House is working to finalize is the Online Diploma. Paske stated that they are still looking at their options. According to him, the Online program has been implemented in Grady County and that 53 Cairo High School students graduated last year using the Online program.
The WIA program will provide those attending with a wide range of curriculum. The curriculum includes: GED Preparation/Adult Education; Leadership Training; Peer to Peer Mentoring; Job Readiness Training; Life Skills Training; Academic Remediation; Work Experience; Job Placement and Music.
Paske stated "I would not of applied for this grant if I did not have the right person to run it," Paske stated at the monthly Decatur County Family Connection meeting. Paske then introduced Johnny Payne who will be the WIA Program Coordinator stating, "He's (Payne) got a gift with young people that I've never seen before."
Payne not only is great with the children, he has combined that gift with music and that also carries over to the 200 plus children that Friendship House serves daily. Paske also stated that they are working to build and equip a music studio so the youth can write, record and produce, positive music.