Coalition Spotlight: The Alternative Roadmap•
This is a monthly feature that shines a light on the work of one of Opportunity Nation’s Coalition members. This month we’re highlighting The Alternative Roadmap, a 16-week program that immerses 16-24 year olds in their identities, strengths and passions to discover their own roadmap, enabling them to take ownership over their own lives and be successful.
Can you name some priorities of The Alternative Roadmap?
Our main priority is to work with Opportunity Youth who need a vision because it’s important for this population to understand that they can be successful with or without a college degree. There is a stigma in our country that without a college diploma, one cannot be successful. We want to break that stereotype.
Our program brings awareness of careers that can lead to a successful future without a college diploma, and this includes trades, certifications, sales and entrepreneurship. We believe that we fill in the skills gap and the opportunities to success that Opportunity Nation is working to restore.
What value guides your work?
We are dependable. As an organization, we approach everything honestly and honorably. This is important because we deeply care about our youth and are dedicated to finding a successful theory of change. We want our partnering organizations and our youth to be able to depend on us, both from a business and moral standpoint.
What is something you wish more people knew about The Alternative Roadmap?
The co-founders of The Alternative Roadmap are 25 years old. This an important element of our organization because there is youthful voice behind the material, allowing us to connect with our youth, who are also millennials or a part of generation Z. Being able to connect is key for increasing engagement because we believe that if a program cannot establish trust and connection, there will be no engagement and no measurable outcomes for success.
How are you engaging young people and/or local communities?
Through our life-coaching and Socratic circle environments, we create an engaging program with youth. One of our co-founders is a certified life coach. Together, we wrote a book and curriculum with the intention of fostering engagement through a life-coaching methodology.
Life-coaching creates engagement through thought-provoking questions and active listening. This allows room for our students to achieve full ownership of their decisions and beliefs. Our socratic approach goes hand in hand with this methodology. A socratic approach includes a series of questions with the intention of helping an individual or group understand their beliefs on a certain topic. Unlike traditional classroom settings, students lead the discussion and questioning. The role of the instructor is to ensure the discussion advances regardless of the direction the discussion takes.
What are you working on right now?
As always, we are looking to impact as many kids as possible. We’d like to gather as much data as possible to see if our program has a true impact. We are constantly seeking partnerships with youth organizations that are looking to increase student engagement and self awareness.
We are currently in the process of brainstorming ideas for an app that would allow students to connect with mentors, what we hope is the start of an efficient and sustainable mentor network. Similarly, we’re working towards having mentors come speak and work with students in person throughout their time in the program. The app will also include a money management component. Students will be rewarded with ‘Roadbucks’ for various reasons, and can be used for many prizes ranging from food discounts to tickets to a big event.
We are also looking to create a funnel system of job opportunities for students, particularly through apprenticeship programs with trade unions and sales organizations.
Can you name a few of your recent collaborations or partnerships?
- Community of Friends in Los Angeles
- Los Angeles Job Corps
- National Advisory Board for The Center of Adolescent Research and Education (Cape Cod, MA)
- School of Extended Options in Pomona, CA
- Wheat Ridge High School, in Denver, CO
- Colorado Homeless Families, in Denver,CO
If you’re a part of the Opportunity Nation Coalition and you’d like to be a part of our Coalition Spotlight, please contact Juanita Tolliver.