The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified that there are ten essential life skills:
· Critical thinking.
· Creative thinking.
· Decision making.
· Problem Solving.
· Effective communication.
· Interpersonal relationship.
· Coping with stress
· Coping with emotion
At-risk children do not often learn these skills at home but we know they can learn them. Research by Bruce Perry, M.D. and others has demonstrated the relationship external trauma and neural development. The parts of the brain governing fight or flight develop earlier and more fully in children exposed to trauma. This causes them to be hypervigilant and easy to provoke. The good news is that Dr. Perry has also proven that new “dendrites” or neural pathways can be developed to the frontal lobes to allow for learning life skills.
Mentoring is a proven methodology for reaching children with a variety of issues in a variety of settings. After using a variety of strategies, CISSC developed it’s own program:
The PrimeTime Mentoring Program is a weekly program that matches community members in a one-on-one or group mentoring setting with a student at-risk of academic failure in Spokane County. Mentors wanting to serve elementary aged children typically eat lunch at the school with their mentee. The process takes no more than an hour a day and children receive benefits measured in attendance, behavior and course completion.