Independence: A Family of Services (IFS) recently hosted a Rites of Passage graduation and recognition ceremony for young participants who have completed course work to earn their high school diploma or have successfully completed the IFS life skills program.
The ceremony was held at the IFS Education and Program Center located at 15 Smalley Terrace, Irvington, New Jersey 07111.
During the Rites of Passage ceremony, some youth are honored, highlighting their completion of High School course requirements and earning their diploma. Also, several of these graduates, as well as youth from surrounding Newark and Essex County communities, are recognized for completing and passing the IFS Life Skills program, officially acknowledging them as being prepared to transition into adulthood.
The goal of the Life Skills program is to teach young people to become self-sufficient by providing training and services that give them the tools they need to successfully transition into adulthood. IFS accomplishes this goal by providing an array of culturally sensitive behavioral health and positive youth development services, and other strength-based activities.
IFS Life Skills training is provided to a cadre of fifty young people at any one time between the ages of 15 and 21. Most of the young people served by IFS complete the Life Skills training in a span of eight months, as opposed to the statewide average length of training, which is a year.
IFS is noted for helping youth turn their lives around. IFS has a long history of working with disenfranchised youth of color who have been expelled from school or are at-risk of dropping out of school. Some youth have been involved in the judicial system or are at-risk of involvement. IFS assists clients with developing skills they will need to become productive members of society and become adults who are capable of coping with the stresses of inner city life. IFS emphasizes independent decision making, problem solving, and positive self-direction. Typically, IFS clients encounter a “breakthrough” and for the first time experience success and positive achievement.
The Life Skills topics covered include: Career Planning; Communication; Daily Living Skills; Home Life; Housing and Money Management; Self Care; Work Life; Work and Study Skills and Social Relationships. During the training, the Life Skills training participants attend class, participate in community service projects and go on numerous field trips visiting restaurants and entertainment venues. We also provide overnight trips to visit colleges.