Another school year is coming to a close and Extended Family has completed Extended Family for Kids (EFK) and Extended Leadership Academy (ELA) programs in our continued attempt to fulfill our mission, “To offer help and inspire hope,” for students in Cherokee, Etowah, Calhoun, and DeKalb counties.  During the 2023-24 school year, we led EFK for more than 280 students in grades Kindergarten through 12th in 24 school groups and 8 groups in juvenile diversion programs.  We led ELA for more than 360 students in 18 school groups and 7 groups in juvenile diversion programs. 

EFK is a nine-lesson curriculum and in most schools was offered twice, once in the fall and again in the spring semesters.  Several students took advantage of the opportunity to repeat the lessons, strengthening their ability to use and practice the skills they were taught through repetition of the information.  Each interactive EFK lesson teaches students how to make healthy lifestyle choices, so they can improve their quality of life emotionally, mentally, and physically.  EFK lessons build self-esteem, ease feelings of shame, ease isolation, decrease stress, address anger issues, and strengthen communication skills for students who have any loved one who is currently or has been incarcerated.

ELA is a series of 18 lessons which focus on job readiness, health, and communication.  Guest presenters, volunteers from the community willing to share their experiences, both successes and challenges, spoke to our students about the steps they have taken to get where they are today.  This year, we have been privileged to have speakers from diverse backgrounds, including mental health professionals, artists, coaches, video game developers, law enforcement, judges, animal science specialists, editors, mechanics, retired military, financial advisors, business owners, and so many more.  In addition to these speakers, Extended Family staff prepared and presented lessons on a variety of topics that provided practical information to help Our Kids set goals and succeed in meeting them.

In total, we were able to include more than 625 children in Extended Family programs this school year.  Extended Family staff worked with an incredible group of volunteers and guest presenters to be able to provide EFK and ELA to so many children.  In addition to all of the valuable information we worked as a group to share with Our Kids, we always have the fundamental goal of leaving each child with the message, “You matter.”  We are always grateful to have this unique opportunity to be involved in helping children grow, learn, and succeed.  Together, in partnership with our local schools, juvenile justice system, volunteers, and community leaders, we are making a difference, one child at a time. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *