The Caterpillar Project is a long-term program designed to make a significant difference in the lives of at-risk youth in St. Croix. The Project’s initial pilot group of selected fifth-grade students meet with staffers after school on a daily basis through high school and into college. The Caterpillar Project is a positive “support system” for these youth, and will provide close ties to adults who take a personal interest in their growth and development. We will continue to work with them through high school and into college.
Life Coaching – Weekly one-on-one sessions with a trained life coach to build self-esteem, vision, hope and self-worth; and help participants learn how to set and achieve goals. The Life Coaching component promotes personal and social growth, thus helping the youth become more responsible and accountable, and ultimately lead fulfilling and purposeful lives.
Mentoring – Similar to a “Big Brother/Big Sister” program, participants are carefully matched with rigorously screened, trained, and supervised volunteer mentors, who each commit to at least one year of service. Bi-weekly one-on-one meetings and an evidence-based mentoring program provide consistent encouragement and guidance to help youth get and stay on the right path.
Community Service – Learning to give of yourself to help others is an integral part of the growth process. Participants take part in meaningful projects focused on the revitalization of our community. These projects also function as team-building activities, which foster responsibility and self-esteem, and help youth develop a stronger sense of attachment to our community.
Educational Intervention– Designed to supplement classroom instruction, the Educational Intervention component uses an individualized approach to help students achieve grade-level proficiency in reading and math, approach learning in a different way, and reach their full academic potential overall.
Career Exploration – Participants receive support identifying, researching, and exploring their career/vocational interests. The curriculum motivates youth to plan for their future and acquire the skills and credentials needed for career success. Whenever possible, participants are also paired with rigorously-screened volunteers to gain hands-on experience in the field.
Personal Wellness – Interactive activities teach participants mindfulness techniques (such as breathing techniques, progressive relaxation, meditation and yoga), how to make good food choices, preventative health information, and more. Ultimately the Personal Wellness component helps strengthen character and self-discipline, and shows youth how to channel their energies towards a positive and constructive life.
Creative Expression – Starting with group activities and eventually expanding to activities based on individual student interest, this component engages participants in the creative process and builds confidence and self-esteem through art. Youth get the opportunity to do something positive with their time and talents, and learn how to channel their energies towards a positive outcome.