Teens desperately need a safe, confidential place to share their feelings and concerns.
ARK for Teens provides an opportunity for two important things to happen. First, problem-solving discussions give teenagers an opportunity to have their ideas and their experiences taken seriously. The topics, derived from a teen focus group, open the door for discussions on things that teens don't usually get to talk about: popularity, anger, stress, bullies, grief, drugs, and parents.
Secondly, teens experience unconditional love in the safe atmosphere of a small group of other teens and adults. Teens enjoy the group and the whole group bonds. As one student said about the meetings, "We could get a lot of things off our minds without being putdown teased or judged."
ARK for Teens can bring diverse groups of teenagers together in a manner that transcends popularity, race, gender, or socio-economic stature. One adult ARK for Teens Facilitator says, "We had African-American students, White students, Hispanic students, cheerleaders, and athletes as well as those who think they don't fit in anywhere at their school. They came together in the ARK group and immediately jelled. We were one group without racial or social separations."
ARK for Teen groups are facilitated by caring adults. Receiving unconditional love and acceptance is an essential part of growing up emotionally and mentally healthy. Healthy self-esteem and a positive self-concept are fostered by a significant adult who gives a child unconditional love. Appropriate self-esteem strengthens the child's power to resist negative peer pressure and destructive behavior.
ARK for Teens is being implemented in schools, churches, community centers, and other venues. Some schools employ ARK for Teens with their in-school-suspension classes or as an alternative to out-of-school suspension.
Frequently asked questions
How does the ARK for Teens process work?
ARK for Teens is conducted through a series of small group meetings of 8-12 teens and two adult leaders. The group meeting includes short video lessons, but most of the time is spent in active group interaction. Group activities are provided to help get the group start talking, but any topic of importance to the members of the group can be discussed. Teens need a forum to talk about things that are of concern to them. They especially need for others to really listen to them without judgment or condemnation.
How does ARK for Teens benefit teens?
ARK for Teens provides young people an opportunity to open up in regard to problems and situations they are facing and to seek guidance and counsel from their peers and from caring adults. The lessons (in the ARK for Teens Manual and on DVDs) deal with such topics as trust, sex, drugs, anger, effective communication, decision-making, and grief.
The program elevates teens' self-concept and helps them resist negative peer pressure and destructive behavior.
Who participates in ARK for Teens?
ARK for Teens is for teenagers of all shapes, sizes, and situations. Jocks, nerds, surfers, goths, "kickers," bright kids, the mentally challenged, "pleasers," "defiers," tall, short, heavy, and physically-attractive kids can all profit from the sharing and the insights that the program provides. ARK for Teens is used in schools, church groups, and juvenile justice venues.
How can I find out more about ARK for Teens?
ARK for Teens materials may be ordered through our online store.