Reflections: Fundamentals of Youth Serving Providers Certificate Program

This week’s blog is written by Kelley Ezell, Executive Director of Upstate Family Resource Center

I once heard someone say

“Youth are not 100% of our population, but they are 100% of our future.”

This is one of the many reasons to make sure that children grow up to be strong, healthy and stable.  Recently, I participated in the Fundamentals for Youth Serving Providers certificate program created by the USC Upstate Child Protection Training Center and Connect (an initiative of Mary Black Foundation). 

This educational opportunity was developed to increase the knowledge and skills of youth workers, share new research, establish a common language among youth work professionals and to advance a youth development network in our county and state.  For me it revealed causes of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) in the lives of children and youth along with its potential lifelong impact on their physical, emotional and mental health.  I must say that this was overwhelming and unsettling.  It answered questions about why some youth are at greater risk and have negative outcomes throughout their lives. 

As we continued with the training I was thankful to learn that research shows there are strategies that create protective factors, develop resiliency and build hope.  It is imperative that our community work together to better understand its responsibility in creating a culture that is rich in the skills, opportunities, and values that children and youth need to be healthy and productive.  We also learned about the Search Institutes 40 Developmental Assets.  These are 40 positive experiences and qualities that all of us have the power to bring into the lives of children and youth.

This is a learning experience for anyone that wants to do more to serve children, youth and families; for anyone who wants to provide hope.  It is an opportunity to prepare not only our children and youth for their future, but for the future of Spartanburg County as a whole.

For more information about the next cohort of the Fundamentals for Youth Serving Providers certificate program, please contact Shawn Masto.