Stepping up program helps youth

WARREN – Those in the YWCA’s Step Up program are learning that good choices and a good self-image are among the important traits to leading positive, healthy lives.

This week the first of a five-part series of classes was offered to local teenage girls and young adult women.

Neil Heller, the program speaker, said making important life decisions is as important as having visions, goals and being persistent.

”Life is like a garden. Each of us needs to pull out the negative and nurture it,” he said.

Daphne Todd, director of the Step Up Program, said as part of the Young Women of Excellence Program Step Up Program a five-part series, ”Me, Myself and I: Respecting Me, Loving Myself and I Am Important” is stressing to local girls how to successfully change negative thinking and habits.

The speakers focus on developing positive self-image and esteem, establishing vision and goals, social skills and how to develop healthy, harmonic relationships, Todd said.

”We want these to be life-changing workshops and help them to fulfill their dreams,” she said.

Kyonna Carmichael and Mia Bennett, who are among the participants, said they know what they are learning will play a valued part of their futures after school.

Todd said participants experience speakers and presentations.

The program continues Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. For information, call 330-373-1010.

Younger children in Warren city’s four elementary schools are also receiving help for their self-esteem with a new mentoring program that includes area high school students.

Kassey Nall, teen program director / coordinator of the TEAM mentor program, said the fourth-grade students from Warren schools receive one-on-one help with homework and tutoring and assistance in reading and mathematics.

”We have a personal goal sheet for each student and want to help them improve their test scores,” Nall said.

The program emphasizes teaching, educating, advising and mentoring.

High school students volunteer their time and serve as mentors with both the mentors and mentees benefiting, she said.

One of the activities was an ”All About Me” where each student got to tell about himself or herself. Students and their mentors cut out pictures that showed and described who they were.

Alexis Stano, a sophomore at Harding and a mentor, said, ”it’s a good program that gets you connected with other people. The children know we will be there for them if they need help or want to talk.”

Destiny Manningham, a sophomore at Howland High School, said she finds the program offers good bonding with others her age as well as helps the younger students.

”I hope I am able to play a part in them achieving their goals,” she said.

Sabrina Montecalvo, a fourth grader at McGuffey K-8 School, said she enjoys getting to know new people her age and older as well as getting help with her schoolwork.

Kyla Turner, also a fourth-grader from McGuffey, said the tutoring and help has helped her improve her grades at school.

”With the help from the mentors, I am getting good grades,” she said.