A program being taught in Tiffin and Fostoria is offering students information in 11 resource areas, such as finances, integrity, motivation and trust.
Sharon George, director of Seneca County Family & Children First Council, is offering "Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin' By World" to students for the first time. It previously had been geared only toward adults.
George said it is a wonderful program because it is solution-based, and the program is designed to reduce judgment. She said she thinks the program offers hope and education.
"It's solution-based because it empowers (them) to build their own resources," she said.
The idea to bring "Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin' By World" to the area started with a mayoral task force and community partners looking at issues Seneca County and Tiffin residents face. They talked about poverty and situational poverty, and their fear of people falling into generational poverty, she said.
George became a certified trainer for the program and said in a perfect world, the program would be introduced at a younger age.
This school year, she started offering the program to students.
George started teaching the pilot program in the fall to 21 students enrolled in Fostoria City Schools' transitional school. The students are divided into two classes.
"I go there once a week in Fostoria," she said.
George said her hope always is to expand and offer the program to other schools, but she wanted to complete the pilot year and didn't approach other schools. A task force member was excited about the program and talked to a Tiffin City Schools official about it, and George met with administrators to discuss starting the program in Tiffin City Schools.
"We landed with their freshman PRIDE group," she said.
George started teaching the program at Columbian last week and teaches the class Wednesday and Thursday.
"We're just happy that Sharon's been able to provide this to our students," said Scott Urban, director of instruction and personnel for Tiffin City Schools.
Urban said students in the People Reaching Individual Dreams in Education intervention program primarily are freshmen. The program provides a team approach toward educating students in which the teachers work collaboratively.
The teachers, in addition to teaching, are understanding what issues students are facing, which could include social, emotional and academic problems. They work toward solving the issues, Urban said.
"Their main focus is for the students to learn responsibility and accountability for their education," he said.
The PRIDE program is housed in the modular unit beside Columbian.
"They bring in community speakers. They take field trips that are somewhat unique. ... They do some outreach. They go to the sharing kitchen, (and) they go to St. Francis," Urban said.
The "Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin' By World" program comes at no cost to the schools because National Machinery Foundation, Tiffin Charitable Foundation, Heidelberg University and Tiffin University donated money to the project. Also, Seneca County was a pilot county for a family and civic engagement grant from the state and received funding.
"This is one of the strategies we wrote into that grant," George said.
In Fostoria, there is a class for adults. All 12 participants have students in Fostoria City Schools, and four of the 12 have children who are freshmen participating in the student program, George said.
The plan in Tiffin, she said, is to offer an adult class for parents of students in the PRIDE program.
"The administration will be getting some information out to them. ... That gives it that holistic approach," she said.
Urban said George has been involved with Tiffin City Schools' family and civic engagement plans, so she helped the staff design plans to help increase the district's graduation and attendance rates.
"She's passionate about helping people toward a better life," he said.