Our young people design a pathway toward their future
Our 8 year programming sequence provides the tools, instruction, practice, and experiences that lead to good decision making, enabling each of our students to design their future. From ages 14-22, our programs provide opportunities to strengthen social-emotional skills, leading to good choices and opportunities for change.
Mentoring and Counseling
Low ratio, high impact.
Our experienced mentors work with young people as both their 1:1 coach and peer-group counselor to create connections and build trust.
College and Career Guidance
Seize the moment, focus on the future.
College and career-related coaching and access to interest-based opportunities enable our young people to develop a pathway toward a future of their design.
Shifting perspectives, gaining confidence.
Providing opportunities for students to develop and learn in nature has benefits that extend beyond the classroom.
Expand your horizons, connecting with others.
Adolescents become powerful contributors to our communities as they learn to be civic-minded adults. Through local partnerships, our students give back and gain insight into various fields of interest.
Timeline of Our Program
Mentoring and Counseling
Community of Unity’s F.A.M. Groups (Facilitation, Advocacy, Mentorship) are the backbone of our Mentoring and Counseling programming. F.A.M. groups are small, gender-specific groups of 10 youth participants and one adult facilitator/advocate/mentor. Through bi-weekly group meetings and frequent 1:1 coaching sessions throughout our 8 year program sequence, FAM members learn to connect with their community, communicate with their peers and celebrate their achievements.
Goals for FAM groups include:
- Improving attendance and consistency in school performance
- Increasing confidence and self-awareness
- Strengthening social-emotional skills
- Developing deeper connections with peers
- Building a future-focused growth mindset
The restorative circle structure of our peer groups provides a safe space for students to practice essential SEL competencies and strengthen their sense of identity. Within the circle structure, participants engage in activities that help them develop a more expansive understanding of themselves and their potential for success and fulfillment.
The goal of 1:1 coaching is to provide targeted support to help students develop the problem-solving and advocacy skills necessary for success in school and beyond. In Years 1-4 of our program (grades 9-12), each week of coaching is focused on specific deliverables which culminate in student-led conferences at the end of the year. Participants maintain their 1:1 coaching relationship throughout the eight year program; mentors meet our Post-Secondary Year 5-8 students on their college campus, near their place of employment, or through virtual online sessions.
College and Career Guidance
Once trust has been established within the FAM groups, participants are introduced to the CORE Program (College|Career: Opportunity, Resource, Experiences), which helps students expand their understanding of their future potential. Throughout the 8-year sequence, participants receive intensive and holistic support around meeting the various criteria and expectations which enable them to progress on the path to a rewarding and fulfilling career.
We do this through exposure and access to Opportunities—including internships, college visits, workshops, professional mentorships and extracurricular activities. Participants have access to individualized plans, college visits and tours, college readiness and preparatory support, one-on-one assistance with college applications and financial aid, scholarships, workshops and seminars, professional mentorships, extra-curricular activities, summer internships, and most importantly, a committed adult who cares deeply about them.
Goals of the CORE program include:
- Increasing social capital through the larger C of U network
- Maintaining a future focused mindset
- Developing proactive strategies
- Recognizing when and how to ask for help
- Strengthening problem solving and self-advocacy skills
- Developing short and long term career goals
Our approach is intense. Our results are profound.
For the past 20 years, students who participated in our FAM groups were far more likely to graduate from high school on time than their peers.
Learning in nature has been linked to improved relationship skills, reduced stress, anger and aggression. All of our young people participate in various levels of challenge courses, day hiking, and overnight camping throughout our 8-year program sequence.
Through hiking, overnight camping, or quick trips to NYC’s many green spaces, our outdoor education program gives our students access to nature, enabling them to learn about themselves and their environment, and develop a lifelong appreciation of the natural world.
Highlights of our Outdoor Education Program Include:
- Annual overnight backpacking retreats for all Year 3 and Year 4 FAM participants
- Guided monthly day hikes with all gear, transportation and healthy meals provided
- Monthly outdoor leadership and skill-building activities
- Challenge courses that provide opportunities for developing SEL skills outside of the urban environment
- Teacher and staff wilderness trainings
By initiating and strengthening partnerships with local organizations, we work to empower students to identify community needs and support them in designing opportunities to give back. Our community partnerships provide students with access for enrichment and SEL skill development beyond the classroom.
Year 1-4 students engage in discussion about potential community needs and local causes that they are passionate about. Through our partnership with the Student Success Network’s Elevating Youth Voice program, student leaders are trained to solicit ideas from their peers and develop an action plan in order to create meaningful opportunities for growth. We are currently developing a more robust community service program which could include global causes and possibly service-related travel experiences for our post-secondary Year 5-8 students and/or alumni.
Health and Wellness
Through partnerships with The Dogpound and Y7 Yoga, our young people have opportunities to engage in expanded physical and mental wellness activities.
Cooking and Nutrition
Through partnerships with local restaurants, our students engage with guest chefs to learn about cooking, nutrition, and the challenges of owning and operating a restaurant in New York City.