Our Curriculum

Life Skills

(Focus on the skills which each person needs in all areas of life to become successful)
Curriculum (From C2: Character Challenge Curriculum) Total Time: 28.5 hrs.

1. Learning – Love of learning, mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge; systematically adding to what one knows; preparation for future success. (Movie: Finding Forrester)
2. Discernment – mindedness, judgment, critical thinking, discrimination; thinking things through, not jumping to conclusions, not impulsive, being willing to change one’s mind in light of the evidence; weighing the evidence carefully before forming an opinion; foresight, prudence, caution, good sense, discretion. (Movie: Lord of the Rings)
3. Respect – honor, giving attention to whom it is due, appropriate conduct toward another, especially those in authority; view of ownership, property, and other rights; submission to authority, yielding. (Movie: Second-Hand Lions)
4. Responsibility – Admitting when I am wrong, doing what I say I will do, being responsible, having integrity, reliable, consistent, dependable. (Movie: Coach Carter)
5. Perseverance – Persistence, industriousness, doing hard work, dealing with adversity; finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in spite of obstacles; “getting it out the door”; taking pleasure in task completion. (Movie: Iron Will)
6. Self-Control – self-discipline, self-regulation; reining in one’s words, appetites, and emotions; regulating what one feels and does; vs. impulsive. (Movie: Gridiron Gang)
7. Diligence – the consistent application of effort to a worthwhile task; staying on task; steady or habitual effort; finishing what one has started, keeping on despite obstacles, taking care of business, achieving closure, getting it off one’s desk and out the door; the mustering of will to perform in the face of contrary impulses; vs. sloth, laziness. (Movie: Pursuit of Happiness)
8. Trust – social intelligence, sense of community, social skills, awareness of motives and feelings of others and self, knowing how to fit in different settings, knowing what makes people tick; respecting individuality and personal boundaries, tolerance, friendship. (Movie: Anti-Trust)
9. Teamwork – citizenship, social responsibility, loyalty, doing one’s share; ability to follow leadership, to discover and perform one’s role in a group. (Movie: Night at the Museum)
10. Leadership – ability to command respect, encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done while maintaining good relations within the group; organizing group activities. (Movie: The Replacements)

Soft Skills

(Focus on the skills which each person needs in the workplace to become successful)
Curriculum (Skills to Pay the Bills – Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success) Total Time: 28.5 hrs.

1. Communication (2 weeks) – Students will learn effective communication techniques which are important for anyone attempting to convey thoughts, ideas, or opinions with those around us. Communication comes in many forms and we focus on each of the following areas: verbal (sounds, language, and tone of voice); aural (listening and hearing); non-verbal (facial expressions, body language, and posture); written (journals, emails, blogs, and text messages); and visual (signs, symbols, and pictures).
2. Planning/Organization (Adapted from Holistic Hardware) – A large factor contributing to the chaos in one’s life is the lack of planning skills and the ability to organize one’s life in a systematic and effective manner. We equip our student’s with the ability to vastly improve the productivity, timeliness, and their ability to arrange and live their life in an orderly fashion.
3. Associations/Relationships (Adapted from Holistic Hardware) – Students learn a simple three-step method where each person in their life is identified as a mentor (positive influence), a menace (negative influence), or a mystery (undetermined). We further equip them with the skills to effectively deal with the people who fall into each category.
4. Enthusiasm/Attitude – When employers look at prospective candidates, beyond skills, experience, and training, they look for those who demonstrate enthusiasm – those they believe will complete assigned tasks in an upbeat and cooperative manner. All other things being equal, a candidate who can demonstrate a positive attitude and eagerness to tackle the job will have an advantage over one who displays an attitude viewed by the employer as negative or disinterested.
5. Networking – Everyone has a network, even if you don’t realize it, and when it comes to job searching, this network may be just as important as your skills and experience. According to Cornell University’s Career Center, 80% of available jobs are not advertised. These jobs are often referred to as the “hidden job market.” We help our students access this market.
6. Problem Solving/Critical Thinking – Problem solving and critical thinking refers to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems. This doesn’t mean you need to have an immediate answer, it means you have to be able to think on your feet, assess problems and find solutions. The ability to develop a well thought out solution within a reasonable time frame, however, is a skill that employers value greatly.
7. Professionalism – Professionalism isn’t one thing; it’s a combination of qualities. A professional employee arrives on time for work and manages time effectively. Professional workers take responsibility for their own behavior and work effectively with others. High quality work standards, honesty, and integrity are also part of the package. Professional employees look clean and neat and dress appropriately for the job. Communicating effectively and appropriately for the workplace is also an essential part of professionalism.

Character Building

(Focuses on the qualities necessary to build one’s character and determine what is right and wrong)
Curriculum (From C2: Character Challenge Curriculum) Total Time: 14 hours

1. Core Values Assessment – used to assist students in assessing their current value system and which values are most important.
2. Anger Management – assess ability of students to cope with anger and equip students with the tools necessary to effectively manage their emotions in a healthy manner.
3. Integrity – honesty; authenticity/authentic, trustworthy, speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself as genuine and sincere; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions; conscience. (Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean)
4. Courage – not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right even if there is opposition; acting on convictions even if unpopular; defending the oppressed; overcoming evil. (Movie: Braveheart)
5. Kindness – gentleness, generosity, nurturance, compassion, niceness, doing good deeds, helping, respect, service, living by the Golden Rule. (Movie: Big Daddy)
6. Care – concern, love, relationships, valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people and spending time with them; value of life; respecting diversity. (Movie: Radio)
7. Awareness – of one’s true self, self-worth, seeing the truth about oneself, accurate perception of one’s strengths, abilities, and appearance. (Movie: Antwone Fisher)
8. Forgiveness – mercy, apology, restitution, forgiving self; accepting the shortcomings of others; giving a second chance; vs. hatred, revenge. (Movie: Spiderman)
9. Wonder and Peace – appreciation of beauty, excellence, awe, and majesty; valuing nature; seeing design and worth in creation and one’s place in that design; Peace: release, calmness, facing difficulty with competency, self-assurance, tranquil, serene. (Movie: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium)
10. Gratitude and Hope – being aware and thankful for the good things of life, seeing meaning and purpose in the difficult or bad things; taking time to express thanks; being appreciative. (Movie: August Rush)
11. Humor and Joy – playfulness, enjoying laughter; bringing smiles to others; making or telling jokes. Vitality, zest, enthusiasm, vigor, energy; approaching life with excitement and energy; living life as an adventure. (Movie: Dan in Real Life)

Employment Skills

(Practical skills necessary to obtain and maintain employment) Total Time: 29.5 hrs.

Being A Great Employee

  • What Employers Want from Employees
  • Work Habits (including attendance)
  • Handling Harassment
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Getting Along With Your Boss/Co-workers
  • How to Advance on a Job
  • Starting Out Well on a New Job
  • Managing Your Time on the Job
  • Making Mistakes on the Job
  • Customer Service

Job Interviewing Skills

  • Before the Interview
  • First Impressions
  • When You’re Speaking
  • How to Answer Troublesome Questions
  • Job Interview Do’s and Don’t’s
  • Suggestions from Executives
  • 18 Tough Questions and How to Answer Them
  • Three Questions You Should Not Ask
  • Potentially Troublesome Issues

Resumes and Applications

  • Resume Writing
  • Written Applications
  • Online Applications

Financial Management

(Focuses on the skills necessary to successfully manage income and build resources)
Curriculum (Future Profits) Total Time: 12.5 hrs.

Unit 1 — Money in Your Neighborhood
This is the first unit because it sets up an understanding of why money is so important and applicable to our lives, both today and in our future. Many choices made are directly related to money – choices based on available money or lack of money. Money often influences available choices. The amount of money one has or has access to, combined with the amount of knowledge about how the financial and power structures in our society work, will impact the choices and opportunities in life. Ultimately, having access to resources and information increases choices and opportunities, and having a greater range of choices increase the ability and freedom to control one’s own future, which is the most essential form of power.
Lesson 1 — The Bean Game/Lesson 2 — Tell Me About Your World/Lesson 3 — Money Messages/Lesson 4 — Whose Life Would You Choose?/Lesson 5 — Power Spread/Lesson 6 — Choosing Power

Unit 2 — Financial Survival Skills – Budgeting
This unit is specifically designed to teach students the important concepts of budgeting and managing their money. It starts with the very basic concept of showing students the money they have flowing through their lives even today. Recognizing that money is already flowing in and out of their lives will help them better appreciate and relate to future lessons in this curriculum. Five of the six lessons in this unit are devoted to a budget simulation. This simulation will only teach students about budgeting, but will also give them a realistic picture of what life looks like financially for an adult.
Lesson 1 — Cash In – Cash Out/Lesson 2 — Life At 25/Lesson 3 — How Much Does Your Life Cost?/Lesson 4 — Delayed vs. Instant Gratification/Lesson 5 — Emergencies!!/Lesson 6 — Budget Simulation Debrief

Unit 3 — Financial Survival Skills – Understanding “The Game”
This unit centers on the analogy of “The Game” to capture students’ interest and to help them understand why they should care about financial concepts that can seem fairly dry (e.g. banking, interest, and loans). Success in the financial world often requires that an individual understand the system and be able to use this knowledge to make the system work in his or her favor. This curriculum is intended to prepare students for financial success by giving them the knowledge to game the system instead of being gamed (“gaming” or “being gamed” are slang terms meaning “taking advantage of” or “being taken advantage of”).
Lesson 1 — The Rules of the Bank/Lesson 2 — How You Game the Bank/Lesson 3 — The Interest Game/Lesson 4 — How You Game Interest/Lesson 5 — How Interest Games You/Lesson 6 — Slaves to Debt / Review

Unit 4 — What You Need To Succeed
Students from low-income communities often become stuck in the trap of making unhealthy decisions, which keep them in recurring cycles of debt and poverty. This often comes from a lack of vision for the future, and is fueled by a sense of despair from living in poverty. These cycles can severely limit their choices for their future. An example of this can be seen in the exceedingly digh dropout rates in low-income communities. In this cycle, youth enter the work force sooner rather than later, and struggle financially because of an underdeveloped understanding of finances, and a lack of skills required to pay for the standard living expenses of an adult. This unit gives students a perspective on how education and training relates to their future income.
Lesson 1 — Only the Minimum/Lesson 2 — Education vs. Income/Lesson 3 — Stories of Success/Lesson 4 — So I Finally Graduated High School…Now What?/Lesson 5 — Decision Making/Lesson 6 — Life Maps