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It's My Move: Transition to Independence

March 2013

It's My Move – Youth on the Move

Youth ages 16-21 often find themselves in a whirlwind of activity. This was never truer for the youth in the Stepping Stones It's My Move Program. The It's My Move Youth always focus on secondary and post-secondary school goals. However, this year they also:

  • Attended career fairs
  • Took part in job shadowing activities
  • 4 toured Washington D.C; riding the Metro, hailed taxis, visited the Smithsonian, the Capitol, etc.
  • 2 participated in poverty simulations given by the United Way
  • 2 became Each-One-Teach-One tutors with Tri-State Literacy Council.
  • Volunteered at the Huntington Art Walk every third Thursday of the month.
  • Helped the efforts of Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.
  • Passed out literature and helped set up for the Huntington Symphony Orchestra
  • Learned about fresh foods while helping Goodwill and the Huntington Kitchen during Farm Fresh Market days.
  • Volunteered and took part in Huntington Kitchen's "Cooking Matters" lessons.
  • 3 youth sought and achieved their GED. YEAH!!!!
  • Participated in Shopping Matters activities facilitated by Marshall University dietary students at grocery stores in the community they live in. They were coached on buying fresh, reading labels and tips on determining if something really is a bargain
  • One young man and one young lady graduated High School. YEAH!!!
  • 1 youth enrolled in Goodwill's Good Guides Program
  • 2 young people participated in and completed the Goodwill Work Adjustment Training Program
  • 4 youth enrolled in Mountwest full time.
  • 1 youth enrolled in Cabell Vocational School (Auto-Specialization) full time
  • 1 young person attended Goodwill's Hospitality Arts Program.
  • 1 young person enrolled in Cooking, Budgeting and Coping courses with Mountain State Center for independent living.
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"DANNY'S" 1ST Job Interview:

I think my interview at McDonald's went very well. The interviewer asked me a few questions. When can you work? I was happy when she seemed to be glad that I was available to work and had transportation to and from work. She then asked me if I had my food handler's card. I showed her the card (which I carried with me in my wallet.) She also was impressed that I not only had the card but that I brought it with me to the interview. She then asked me if I would have any problems cleaning the bathrooms and helping to keep the lobby clean. I of course told her I would be happy to do so!

They asked me to call them back on Wednesday. I called back and was told she hasn't made a final decision. I was a little nervous but we had already practiced interviewing as a life skill. I was happy that I had gone to get my food handler's card as part of my Circle Plan. If they do choose someone else and not me I know to thank them and ask them to please keep my application on file.

I felt very well prepared. I will honestly be a bit disappointed if I don't get the job. But if I don't I will count it as practice and keep on trying.


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How Melody came into our lives:

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
Albert Einstein

As a divorced mother of an 18 y/o son and a 17 y/o daughter, I am often asked how I achieved both my B.S (Workforce Leadership and Development University of Louisville) and my Masters (Adult and Technical Education Marshall University) while working full time and raising my children on my own. My answer is always about balance. Learning to balance school, work and my family life in a way that doesn't result in a tangled mess can be daunting even for someone who has been navigating life for a while. Teaching youth who are just entering adulthood to perform this balancing act is what being a transition coach is all about!

My career path has included the usual twists and turns and I, like many, changed majors several times looking for that right fit. Finding what I wanted to do "when I grew up" was excruciating. Many youth feel they have to make a snap decision on a process that actually is a better taken as a journey of discovery. My own life journey has prepared me to help the youth I deal with daily to feel more secure about the decisions they make about their future. Taking care to teach them the basic skills such as cooking, cleaning, financial literacy as well as providing linkages within the community helps to prepare them for their journey while also giving them the tools necessary to get back on track should they lose their way once out on their own.

Having worked with adults (with Workforce WV) on many of the job search skills and educational goals that I now work with It's My Move youth, I realize their concerns when heading out to post-secondary education and the workforce are not exclusive to youth. The fear that all is lost when one has to shift goals is also not exclusive to their age. The only thing that is new in our youth's journey towards independence is the youth themselves! My job as a transition coach is not to set goals for the youth but to teach them how to find and use all the maps and tools to reach the goals they have set for themselves and of course to keep that balance no matter what bump you meet in the road!

Melody Nelson – Transition Coach

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Some new "News" since our last posting:

We have made numerous updates to our www.itsmymove.org website. If you haven't visited lately, it is seriously worth your time to see the updated links, information and features. Improvements and updates we have made include:

  • A new Training Section! This tab houses existing training resources and it will be continually refreshed as we add new presentations that adults can use in their work with young people. We also have quick and easy links to all of the Casey Life Skills information as well as supporting training resources to help youth and their caregivers develop and implement learning plans.
  • Readily at Hand – has been updated and remains a great data catcher for young people as well as care givers working with youth to help them establish a portfolio of critical documents, skills and experiences needed as youth establish careers, medical linkages, continue in education, etc.
  • Link to our It's My Move Face Book page. And keep your eye on this as we are adding exciting links and questions here also for youth. Upcoming – we will be able to use this Face Book page as a portal to a survey so we can get up-to-date input from our youth as they use our resources and even those leaving our programs.
  • On the cosmetic front – if you think there is something really familiar about our website now but can't figure it out, we've updated our tabs to complement those you may already be used to using on a smart phone.
  • We have updated our Guidebook. So not only is there new sections and information available via our website link (which you can print), but our hard copies are also updated.
  • We have added information for pregnant and parenting teens on our website. A special thanks to Crittenton Services for sending us this invaluable information.
  • Best Practices - This tab includes identified state and national best practice resources. We will keep this tab up to date and relevant so check back often.

In other new News – we have also:

  • Created an It's My Move Wallet card to hand out to young people. The wallet card has an URL that when scanned, links back to our website.
  • Stayed up-to-date on national trends – our staff have attended the Daniel Conference in Atlanta this past Fall and numerous workshops on Financial Literacy, etc. from national presenters that have presented in WV
  • Presented information on working with older youth and WV resources at Regional Provider Fairs, the WV Probation Conference, the WV NASW, the WV Emergency Shelter Network Conference and at a staff network meeting of the Division of Juvenile Services.
  • We have developed several working relationships with our colleagues and as a result, several youth have had opportunities to tour our apartments to help increase youth awareness of transitional living opportunities

And we have a few things upcoming:

  • We are currently working with the Huntington United Way and other community partners to present a Real World Simulation to youth in June 2013. Look for teasers and flyers soon!
  • As part of a statewide Older Youth Task Team Group, Stepping Stones is piloting two new products: An Older Youth Transition Plan designed to track and encourage life skills development at an earlier age; and a Decision Guide for all working with older youth to help more accurately introduce transitional living options and preparedness issues. Hopefully once the pilot and subsequent tweaking is over, both products will be up and available on our website.

So – interested? Have a youth you feel may benefit from our transitional living opportunities or even need to find out who else is out there serving older youth in West Virginia? Call, email, text, use snail mail: we are accessible and we are available to answer questions or help consult on challenging cases! Always considers us a resource!!

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group photo of teens www.itsmymove.org


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It's My Move c/o Stepping Stones, Inc.
P.O. Box 539
Lavalette, West Virginia 25535

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