Project Promise is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization incorporated on January 24, 2014 under the laws of the United States Virgin Islands and was founded to address the many challenges facing St. Croix’s youth. The goal of the organization is to identify those youths who are experiencing adolescent hardships and may have a rough transition into adulthood; Project Promise offers positive support services to help them avoid the stumbling blocks that can negatively impact their lives. Project Promise programs seek to reduce risky behaviors, teach participants how to make informed positive choices and tap into their full potential.
Project Promise currently offers three programs for St. Croix at-risk youth.
Every Kid In A Park
The Salt River Bay Program offers every public school fourth grade student the opportunity to visit and learn about the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve. The three- point program includes an introduction to the park at the school, followed by an on-site park tour, and a post-experience in-class visit by the instructor to review what was learned. Since the 2014-2015 school year, Project Promise in collaboration with the National Park Service, have hosted more than 1000 public school 6th graders under the program, formerly called “Ticket to Ride”.
The Caterpillar Project
The Caterpillar Project is a long-term program designed to make a significant difference in the lives of at-risk youth in St. Croix. The Project’s initial pilot group of selected fifth-grade students will meet with staffers after school on a daily basis through high school and into college. Over time the Caterpillar Project will become a “support system” for these youth, with close ties to adults who take a personal interest in their growth and development.
This holistic program includes:
- Life Coaching – Weekly one-on-one sessions with a trained life coach to build self-esteem, vision, hope and self-worth; and help participants learn how to set and achieve goals. The Life Coaching Program promotes personal and social growth, thus helping the youth become more responsible and accountable, and ultimately lead fulfilling and purposeful lives.
- Mentoring – Similar to a “Big Brother/Big Sister” program, participants are carefully matched with rigorously screened, trained, and supervised volunteer mentors, who each commit to at least one year of service. Bi-weekly one-on-one get-togethers provide consistent encouragement and guidance to help youth get and stay on the right path.
- Community Service – Learning to give of yourself to help others is an integral part of the growth process. Participants take part in meaningful projects focused on the revitalization of our community. These projects also function as team-building activities, which foster responsibility and self-esteem, and help youth develop a stronger sense of attachment to our community.
- Tutoring – Designed to supplement classroom instruction, the Educational Intervention Program uses an individualized approach to help students achieve grade-level proficiency in reading and math, approach learning in a different way, and reach their full academic potential overall.
- Career Exploration – Participants receive support identifying, researching, and exploring their career/vocational interests. The evidence-based curriculum motivates youth to plan for their future and acquire the skills and credentials needed for career success. Whenever possible, participants are also paired with rigorously-screened volunteers to gain hands-on experience in the field.
- Personal Wellness – Interactive activities teach participants mindfulness techniques (such as breathing techniques, progressive relaxation, meditation and yoga), how to make good food choices, preventative health information, and more. Ultimately the Personal Wellness Program helps strengthen character and self-discipline, and shows youth how to channel their energies towards a positive and constructive life.
- Creative Expression – Starting with group activities and eventually expanding to activities based on individual student interest, this program engages participants in the creative process and builds confidence and self-esteem through art. Youth get the opportunity to do something positive with their time and talents, and learn how to channel their energies towards a positive outcome.
- Cultural Awareness – Many of our youth know little to nothing about the Virgin Islands’ rich cultural heritage. The Cultural Awareness Program uses fun, hands-on activities and numerous field trips to explore St. Croix’s vibrant past. Participants are introduced to the Virgin Islands’ traditional foods, music, dances, natural resources, literature, and history.
- Family Support Services – The Family Support Program links participants’ parents with needed resources. It also gives parents the tools to effectively communicate with and participate in their children’s lives. To remove barriers to participation, transportation to and from the evening meetings, a healthy meal, and child care for younger children are provided.
The Excellence & Leadership Recognition Program
The Excellence & Leadership Recognition Program is designed to acknowledge and recognize three outstanding public high school seniors; one senior from each high school who has gone above and beyond, despite all odds. The Excellence & Leadership Recognition Award is presented to students who demonstrated leadership qualities during their high school years.