This week I am doing something a little different because I came across a really awesome article in The Wall Street Journal that I would like to share with you all.
In 1992, Jill Chalsty launched a program called Overcoming Obstacles for middle and high school students. Overcoming Obstacles is a life-skills program in which students learn concepts and skills such as confidence, responsibility, respect, teamwork, stress management, problem solving, etc. With the high school students they also focus on college and careers (they learn about scholarships/loans, prepare resumes, and practice interviewing skills). Lastly, the program also stresses community service, guiding the students through the process of starting a community project using knowledge they have gained in the classroom. The program has been used by 2.5 million students in New York, Charleston, Jersey City, and Los Angeles.
Previously, school districts who have participated in the program had to pay from their own funds. The curriculum includes 80 lesson plans, 500 activities, and 180 hours of instruction. But Mrs. Chalsty and her husband have decided that with recent budget cuts faced by many school districts it is time to make the program FREE. Therefore, they launched a $10 million “gifting initiative” in order to do so. The Chalsty’s kicked off the fundraiser by donating $500,000 of their own money.
I think that this program is a great idea and something that all middle and high school students need. Many school programs quickly breeze over bullying, time management, and study skills but very few focus on other life skills such as confidence, style tips, and common etiquette. Overcoming Obstacles seems to cover it all and perhaps if I had gone through this program myself I wouldn’t be so nervous about entering into the real world. I really hope more schools start to adopt this program.
Check out the Overcoming Obstacles website here.
Mrs. Chalsty is definitely a ‘lipstick confident’ woman, now go practice yours!