Hello. My name is Steve Cronin. I’ve been developing and teaching a ‘Life Skills‘ program for juniors and seniors at Hope High School for the past 14 years. The objective of the program is to expand student career horizons of what is not only possible but how to make their aspirations probable. The class introduces a series of life concepts – ‘personal brand‘, ‘leadership‘, ‘change‘, ‘success‘ and ‘hope‘ – within the context of specific periods of American history. Other skills like networking, communication, collaboration, creativity, empathy, analysis and inquiry are introduced to complement concept understanding and exploitation. I’ve written 11 textbooks for this program posted on the side of this Life Skills web site. Each book introduces a concept or reinforces a skill within a specific period of history.
Hope High’s ‘Life Skills’ class meets once a week during the school year. Most classes are conversations with interesting guests. Life Skills guests share personal stories which relate to the concepts of the program and lives of the students. Whether it’s a story of an immigrant’s transition in America or pushing oneself out their comfort zone to discover new, fulfilling activities, Hope Life Skills guests share intimate details of their successes and failures along their life’s journey. Hope Life Skills guests are a diverse group of successful people. From a CVS Health Corporate Vice President from the streets of Spanish Harlem in New York City and an executive manager at AAA Southern New England’s corporate office who grew up in a foster home to a Guatemalan born Hope High School and Life Skills alum who received a full scholarship to Georgetown University, guest stories inspire and empower many of the Life Skills students facing similar challenges.
The Life Skills class also embarks on several field trips during the year. Each event is designed to expand the career horizons of our students, creating curiosity and a subsequent reflection on ‘what could be’. Events include the annual Rhode Island Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce Banquet, a networking event with area professionals within the comfortable confines of a corporate suite at McCoy stadium during a Pawtucket Red Sox baseball game, a career and jobs day at the corporate offices of CVS Health in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, a tour of a college campus, a Board of Directors meeting at one of Rhode Island’s largest and most successful companies, and a visit to an area private school to collaborate with their students to create new, start-up, online businesses. Each event provides an opportunity to exercise networking, inquiry and presentation skills as well enhancing their personal and Hope High School’s brand. Each event also provides an opportunity for students to build their personal network of successful people.
The ‘Life Skills’ class is designed to provide students with critical skills for lifetime success. The program hopes to provide credible reasons to work hard to maximize their potential in order to fulfill lifetime dreams. The class also aims to provide hope and build confidence for students to venture out of their comfort zones to discover jobs and careers that interest them. The potential role models and mentors the students meet during their networking opportunities often help students persevere during periods of adversity and doubt as well as providing assistance to put the occasional mistake or failure in its proper perspective.
Life Skills students are given business cards for their networking opportunities during the school year and teach the critical professional techniques for exchanging cards to build their networks of successful people.
Life Skills students are taught about personal brand development. Listening, observation skills and empathy are critical to understanding how others perceive them. The goal is to develop and protect a personal brand that creates exciting opportunities for life time success. Each student is also made aware of other brands they represent. Beyond their personal brand, they’re made aware of responsibilities they have representing their families, Hope High School, the Life Skills program and every person who recommends them for jobs, college admission and internship programs.
Students who meet program expectations of ‘on time all the time attendance’, completion of reading and writing assignments, attendance at most field trips and consistently exhibiting the effort to develop their own personal networks, are given personal tablets.
The ‘top’ Life Skills’ students are eligible for attendance at a week long National Youth Leadership Forum (nylf.org) in Washington, D.C. where they collaborate with high school students from all over the United States on one of several topics like Law, National Security and Medicine. Five students were chosen to attend this life changing event last year. Tuition, airfare and accommodations were paid for by several corporate and individual sponsors of the Life Skills program. Other outstanding Life Skills students are eligible for paid internships at local companies learning 21st century job skills. Last summer, two students earned paid internships for Data Analysis, Supply Chain Management and Pharmacy at the corporate office of CVS. Other students earned jobs at two of Providence’s top law firms and at an area book store.
I encourage anyone with suggestions and constructive criticism about the program to contact me. I am not a professional educator. I was the former President of TWOBOLT, a direct marketing strategy and services company in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and now working at Signature Printing in business development. Also, if anyone is interested in participating or donating to our Life Skills Hope High School program, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your interest in Hope’s ‘Life Skills’ program.