Services

The Choice Program is a community-based, family-centered case management approach to delinquency prevention and youth development. Focusing on providing support in at-risk environments, The Choice Program empowers youth and engages families through a multitude of strengths-based services adapted to meet individual needs. Choice staff develop strong partnerships with youth and their families to build a youth’s capacity to successfully participate in educational, vocational and social settings. The program seeks to foster resiliency in young people by promoting protective factors to mitigate risk in their daily lives and ensure long term success.

Community Service-Learning Fellowship

The Choice Program recruits college graduates from diverse backgrounds and fields to serve in a one-year position as a Community Service Learning Fellow. The commitment provides Choice Fellows with extensive training, professional experience, and opportunities for personal and career development. Recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Choice Fellows receive an AmeriCorps Education Award upon completion of contract. AmeriCorpscore values of "getting things done” and "strengthening communities” directly align with Choice's community-based approach. While serving as advocates and mentors, enthusiastic and dedicated Choice staff develop professional, caring relationships with youth.

The Choice Program, a not-for-profit organization, is administered by The Shriver Center at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). The Shriver Center strives to engage the strengths and resources of higher education in finding creative solutions to some of the most urgent social challenges.

Key Components of the Choice Model

Caring Adult Relationships

Consistent daily contact between Choice Fellows and the youth fosters professional and caring relationship. Daily contact also provides numerous opportunities for informal counseling, information sharing, mentoring, and role modeling.

High Expectations

Choice Fellows interact daily with each youth, communicating clear messages connected with high expectations within the context of these supportive relationships.

Meaningful Participation

Structured after-school, weekend, and summer activities provide opportunities for youth to be involved, learn to take responsibility, and contribute to their community.

Building Community, School, and Home Partnerships

Identifying and linking additional social support systems within a family’s community constitute a fundamental component of The Choice Program model.Connections are made with youth and families through case management and active involvement in the communities we serve.

Staff Development and Training

Choice relies on rigorous training and regular supervision to ensure that professional and supportive relationships are established among Choice Fellows, youth, key adult care givers, and supporters.Choice Fellows receive a minimum of 65 hours of training. These trainings include such topics as informal counseling, adolescent development, case management, family work, educational services, juvenile care, and safety and crisis intervention.

The Choice Program Difference

COMMUNITY BASED- GO WHERE THE YOUTH/FAMILIES LIVE, PLAY, STUDY, WORK

PARTNERSHIP WITH FAMILY & YOUTH

FAMILY & YOUTH ARE THE EXPERTS

INDIVIDUALIZED SERVICES- TAILORED TO YOUTH & FAMILY

STRENGTHS BASED-

BUILD ON YOUTH & FAMILY ASSETS

FOSTERS CARING RELATIONSHIPS

FOCUS ON RECIPROCITY

DEVELOPS HIGH EXPECTATIONS-

UNLEASH THE POTENTIAL OF YOUTH & FAMILY

PROVIDES MEANINGFUL PARTICIPATION- CREATE OPPORTUNITIES TO DEVELOP THE POTENTIAL OF YOUTH & FAMILY

WORK WITH YOUTH & FAMILY TO IDENTIFY & LINK TO SOCIAL SUPPORTS

DAILY FACE TO FACE

24/7 CRISIS RESPONSE

WORK FORCE, LEADERSHIP & ADVOCACY DEVELOPMENT OF CHOICE FELLOWS

TEAM APPROACH

SERVICE-LEARNING CULTURE

CAN DO/SERVICE ORIENTATION

VOLUNTEER FRONTLINE STAFF IN A YEAR OF INTENSE SERVICE-LEARNING

DATA DRIVEN DECISION MAKING IN REAL TIME

MOVEMENT BUILDING LEADERSHIP