Teen Intake

Our TPC program began with referrals from the school’s counselors office. Although efficient, we immediately realized this led to the selected students feeling “stigmatized.” They felt like they were chosen  without any of their input. The question was often asked, “What do you think is wrong with me?”

From this learning and the teens’ lack of engagement, we developed a different process in which the  students ONLY “self selected” for the program. This began, incidentally, their own self-empowerment.

Classroom Presentation

Short (15-minute) presentations introduced the concept of coaching to the students using questions and metaphors. Each presentation began with this question:

“What if you knew you could sit down with an adult who would listen to you about your concerns and your dreams? And what if that adult would never judge, criticize, or embarrass you but would only help you see how you might be able to succeed?”

The question immediately caught their attention and we paused and let it settle in.

We also used feedback we had gained from our initial cohort of students on what it’s like to be a teen today. Students themselves were asked to participate in a few brief elements of the presentation. This not only conveyed information about the coaching process but also got them engaged.

After the presentation, students were offered the opportunity to explore coaching further at our Teen Assembly without any obligation. Using 3×5 cards, they could anonymously register their decision by placing their name and simply checking “yes” or “no” or “maybe” on the card. The “yes” students were invited to the Teen Assembly, and the “maybe” students were contacted after they had likely heard exciting reports from their classmates attending the Assembly.

Orientation — What is Touch Point Connection?

Being a teen activity

Information for Teens — What is a Coach?

Teen Assembly

Each Assembly was interactive, fun, and engaging. After welcoming the teens and acknowledging their willingness to explore possibilities for their future, a brief explanation of what coaching is and is not was reviewed. Based on an exercise the students would later participate in, a demonstration was provided with one of the students and a trained coach. The students then connected in pairs and, aided by a simple form (see pdf below) “coached” each other.

Demonstration of coaching conversations
Demonstration of coaching conversations

The mood in the room shifted from “reserved curiosity” to “excitement”. At the close of the Assembly, the students were invited to fill out a 3×5 card (for anonymity) to signal a desire to be contacted for an interview or not. Not all teens joined the coaching program, but those who did were glad they took action!

What I want, what I don’t want

Network of support map

Teen Interview

The follow-up interview allowed each student to ask questions and learn more. The process often resembled a coaching conversation without that being the intent. If the student wished to proceed he or she received a permission form to be filled out by a parent or guardian to allow participation in the program.

Teen Intake interview

Permission (English)

Permission (Spanish)

Meet-Up (Teens + Volunteers)

Next, the Volunteer Success Coaches (VCs) and the teen had a Meet Up for the 1:1 (one-on-one) coaching program. No more than six pairs of Coach-Teens were present. This allowed us to maintain intimacy, provided time for questions, and gave the VCs and teens a chance to get to know each other.

Before the teens arrived at the Meet Up, the VCs would review:

  • Their Agreement with TPC and sign it
  • Issues of confidentiality, mandatory reporting and duty to warn, school policies and logistics, and requirements of Touch Point Connection.

When the teens arrived at the Meet Up, they were introduced to their respective coaches followed by:

Success Coach and Teen at their first "Meet-Up"
Success Coach and Teen at their first “Meet-Up”
  • General introductions and review of what coaching is and is not. A student question and answer sheet about coaching was read by a VC for the group.
  • An Ice-breaker exercise
  • A VC read the teen interview
  • Comments about confidentiality, mandatory reporting and duty to warn, school policies and logistics, and policies of Touch Point Connection were made for all to hear.
  • Agreements between the Coach and the Teen were distributed and read. Each Agreement was to be reviewed and discussed and then signed at their first meeting prior to coaching.
  • Each pair then took time to get to know each other and  schedule of their coaching sessions.

Volunteer Coach pledge to Teen

Teen pledge to Coach

Teen coaching experience interview

Coaching Teens… Building Futures

Students Say…

“Talking with someone helped me to understand what was right and wrong.”
“I connected with my coach. I wasn’t afraid to tell her personal stuff. I could trust her because I wasn’t being judged.”
“Because of coaching, my life is better because I can actually meet my goals and reach for my future goals.   I'm stronger and more positive since having a coach.”
“Since I started working with a coach I'm way more confident and I don't care if people judge me.”
“When asked what makes an ideal coach, she responded: "Somebody who listens to my opinions and helps me get more ideas about what I want.”
“I had someone who just listened. When I had a question there was a combination of getting ideas from him, and figuring out myself.”
“It felt good to have an adult in my life that I could trust and didn’t judge me.”
“My coach and I worked on a graph so I could organize my time better. I was getting C’s and D’s on my progress report, now I am getting A’s and B’s on my report card.”
“Before coaching I was getting C's and D's. Now I am getting A's and B's on my report card.”
“I know now that when I have a problem there are different ways to solve it other than violence.”
“Before my coaching I had no idea of what to do after high school; now I have ideas on how to reach goals I didn’t know I had.”
“Coaching was a moment where I could just talk about what I want.”
“Our relationship was more about a friendship. I have told him secrets - things about myself I have not told anyone else.”
“I learned that I can be independent and don’t have to rely on others, but can get support when I feel I need it.”
“It was good. My coach helped me a lot with organizing my life.”
“At first we just talked, it felt good to talk to someone and really trust them.”
“I had somebody who would help me set up steps to reach my goals. It wasn't complicated, she made it simple. It was positive, and I had the ability to identify those steps.”
“Before my coaching I had no ideas of what to do after high school. Now I have ideas on how to reach my goals.”
“My coach didn’t judge me and tell me I was throwing away my life.”
“Coaching has given me the strength to show the world what I've got and what I can do. I have learned to not limit my challenges but challenge my limits.”
“I used to think of myself as lazy and a failure. Since I've had a coach, my perspective is different and now I can see myself being successful.”