H2O HOME ALONE Youth Leadership Program
The Lakewood Foundation/H2O
Founded by the City of Lakewood/Dept. of Human Services/Division of Youth in 1993, H2O “Help to Others” has provided extra-curricular service learning opportunities for thousands of middle and high school youth in our community. With support from the Thomas J. and Marjorie S. Gray Foundation in 2019, H2O was able to successfully launch its HOME ALONE Youth Leadership Program for 15-18 year olds this year. HOME ALONE is a safety training project, created and executed entirely by high school leaders, with the goal of equipping their younger peers with information and skills to help them handle potentially dangerous situations they may encounter as they mature. HOME ALONE provides an opportunity for the high school leaders to impart knowledge they’ve gained through sessions with first responders, as well as wisdom from their own personal experiences, in a manner that resonates with their younger peers. It also serves as a strong mentoring program, inspiring the elementary students to join H2O and become a teen leader one day. H2O’s HOME ALONE Youth Leadership Program began with an initial group of 11 high school leaders, known as the Research and Development Team (R&D Team, for short). These 11 leaders met with first responders from Lakewood Fire, Police, Emergency Dispatchers, EMS, and a Cyber Crimes Police Investigator/Educator over the summer of 2019 in order to gather information for their HOME ALONE safety curriculum presentations. The R&D Team was also charged with the task of recruiting an additional 37 high school leaders in order to host four HOME ALONE events in January and February of 2020. The R&D Team surpassed all expectations and H2O ended up with a total of 62 high school leaders who dedicated over 1,800 hours to create and present interactive safety lessons on the following topics: Emergencies, First Aid, Internet Safety, Tricky People, Street Smarts, Routines/Sibling Conflicts/Safe Snacks. Thankfully H2O was able to complete all four HOME ALONE events, training 221 students - ages 9-12 and their parents, before the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020. Weeks after the final HOME ALONE training, H2O sent a post event survey to families who attended to measure any impacts HOME ALONE may have had on their child. Several people mentioned they were grateful that their child had received the training because, with the closure of schools and parents having essential jobs, their child ended up being home alone much more than anticipated. Given the future uncertainties and social distancing that continue to exist, with support from the Thomas J. and Marjorie S. Gray Foundation, H2O is determined to adapt and develop new ways to keep the momentum of the vitally important HOME ALONE Youth Leadership Program going and growing! The HOME ALONE Youth Leadership Program is H2O’s most recent program expansion and demonstrates the power of authentic, student-driven projects to capture their spirit and energy, and ignite the creativity of our youth.
$20,000  Funded  Encourage