Americle, a Connected Youth Initiative (CYI) participant, pushes through obstacles and continues to be her best self.
Just ask her CYI coach, Dan Metzler.
Dan said, “Americle has the best work ethic that I’ve come by with working with young adults. She’s very committed to wanting to ‘be her best.’ Americle doesn’t let her struggles keep her down. She always works well with [me] and is a sponge of wanting to take in all the resources and knowledge that I provide her.”
A four-year participant of the CYI coaching programs, LEAP and PALS, Americle has long committed herself to these valuable resources. LEAP, (Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential) and PALS (Preparation, Transition & Independent Living Services) are a part of CYI coaching support administered by Nebraska Children and Families Foundation’s older youth initiative, Connected Youth Initiative (CYI).
As of late, many of Nebraska’s community collaboratives provide support for youth with foster care experience. CYI’s evidence-based strategies for youth and young adults like Americle include partnered efforts throughout each community.
These strategies include Central Navigation, which provides a one-stop-shop approach. Young people can avoid retelling their stories to different people. Instead, the young person meets with a Central Navigator, who puts them in touch with the appropriate resources.
Coaching is one of the strategies that provides goal-oriented, strength-based support for youth to develop skills. Young people also may participate in Youth Leadership, which ensures they can use their voice for advocacy and community leadership.
CYI contracts with Central Plains Center for Services (CPCS) to offer their statewide coaching, often known as the PALS program. Coaches are experts in various programs. Connected Youth Initiative’s LEAP, a strand of the work focused on improving postsecondary outcomes, offers Education and Training Vouchers (ETV), which Americle sought out as well.
ETV vouchers help students cover up to $2,400 of expenses, including tuition, fees, and book costs. In Nebraska, the ETV disbursements are aligned with CYI, which provides one-on-one coaching, such as the PALS program, for added support. The sessions entail regular face-to-face, phone, or email communication where the coach and student strategize their goals.
ETV recipients and their coaches can even take on other important subjects such as relationships, work-life balance, housing, and scheduling. During these sessions, the coach offers strength-based encouragement that builds on the young person’s previous accomplishments. Coaches may link youth to on-campus resources, too.
Americle received ETV support through CPCS to financially assist her at Southeast Community College (SCC)-Lincoln. CPCS provided amenities, including a laptop for her college coursework.
Despite her promising future, however, Americle encountered an unanticipated obstacle which she met with grace. When she was diagnosed with COVID-19, she had to drop her courses. Not to be defeated, she reenrolled for the fall semester.
“She has had many obstacles throughout her life, but has always found a way through them to make herself better,” said Dan.
Throughout these past few years, Americle has made impressive strides working with her coach to create strategies that contribute to her achievements and academic success.
In addition to being a student, Americle works almost full time to take care of herself. Dan said that she’ll stop at nothing to obtain her goals.
Another one of Americle’s strengths includes her ability to be vulnerable and seek out her friends, family, and CYI coach . She’s embarking on a quest for self-knowledge and betterment. Despite her struggles, she remains determined to surround herself with positivity to move into the next phase.
Americle is likely well-aware of her capability and talents, while feeling grateful for her work with her PALS coach and support. “I always have someone there to help me get through my struggles,” she said.