By Crystal Mutilitis, Program Coordinator

This school year, Carteret High School Pathways was required to utilize an evidence-based program. Pathways began implementing Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program (TOP) for a select group of students identified by administrators. TOP promotes the positive development of adolescents through curriculum-guided, interactive group discussions, positive adult guidance and support and community service learning. Pathways clinicians Crystal and Aja were trained to implement the 25-week-long curriculum and work together to deliver the program during the school day. This program is meant to help our students build social-emotional skills, develop a positive sense of self, and make a difference in the community. For their required community service project, TOP students chose to work with The Seeing Eye Dog, a philanthropic organization whose mission is to enhance the independence, dignity, and self-confidence of blind people through the use of seeing eye dogs. The organization is donation and volunteer based and they breed, raise and train dogs to become successful seeing-eye dogs who are later matched with individuals in need.

Community service learning contributes to long-lasting benefits for the students themselves and their communities. Some of the benefits of student community service include academic enhancement, the development of essential life skills such as leadership, communication and problem-solving, the fostering a strong work ethic and sense of responsibility, and a positive impact on students’ mental health and overall well-being. Carteret High School TOP students have worked together to plan fundraising opportunities, including an organized dress-down day to raise money for The Seeing Eye Dog. The program will run through April 2024 and students will have completed 25 group sessions as well as required community service learning hours. Students will have benefited from evidence-based programming and skill development to carry with them through their high school careers.

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