Mastering social skills is key to feeling confident and comfortable in new situations. Starr Detroit’s Youth Assistance Program (YAP) recently engaged several students in a sit down lunch with fully set tables. Picking the right utensil, asking for food to be passed, and engaging in conversation were just a few of the things the young men did to master the art of dinner skills and increase their self-esteem.
The exercise was conceived by YAP counselor, Laytoya Lambeth, who has a gift for developing activities that hold young people’s attention while introducing behaviors and attitudes that can improve their lives. Ms. Lambeth discussed with the young men the importance of being able to hold conversations and use correct etiquette in social situations.
The young men at Sabbath Middle School in the River Rouge School District were enthusiastic about the activity. Saying they wished they had more “hands on” activities like this one, they were fully engaged in the exercise. One young man said he would use his newfound skills on a date, since he had never taken someone on a dinner date before. All of the young men said they felt much more comfortable about sitting down to a meal with family, friends or even strangers after participating in this activity.
Starr Detroit’s in-school Youth Assistance Program once again scores a win for our youth. Every time they are able to feel comfortable and confident in new situations, there is far less chance of their acting out inappropriately. Mastery is one of the building blocks of positive youth development, the model on which all Starr youth programs are built.