Skills 4 Life program uses practical skills to build confidence in teenagers
Seventeen-year-old Emilee Acton has mild intellectual disability and Asperger’s Syndrome. This year, she joined our Skills 4 Life program in Penrith to make new friends, learn skills, build her confidence and grow her independence.
Skills 4 Life is a skill-development program run by Northcott for teenagers aged 14-17 years old. The program runs throughout the school term, two evenings a week, with each night dedicated to developing a new skill or participating in an activity. Through a diverse range of fun and educational activities, participants learn how to express their opinions, make decisions and respect others, while building their confidence and self-esteem.
Activities can include learning to cook, travel training to learn the best way to get to and from a chosen destination, understanding budgeting and how to use a budget in everyday life, learning computer skills and looking after your health and wellbeing, as well as handling emotions.
We spoke to Emilee Acton’s mother Sarah Acton, and Kaitlyn Cole, a Northcott support worker from Skills 4 Life Penrith, to find out what the program is all about.
Why were you interested in being involved in the Skills 4 Life Program?
Sarah: Emilee has been attending Northcott programs for two years.
Kaitlyn: I wanted to be able to empower young adults to become more independent in everyday living.
What is your favourite activity at Skills 4 Life Penrith and why?
Sarah: Emilee’s favourite activity is going on outings.
Kaitlyn: Cooking – as it’s always great to learn new recipes as we all need to eat!
What new skills have you developed or learnt while at Skills 4 Life?
Sarah: Emilee enjoys making new friends, and has learnt to manage her time better, budget money, and how to mix with kids her own age.
Why has learning this new skill been important or positive for you?
Sarah: Emilee has become a lot more confident in herself since attending Northcott and having gained lots of new skills.
Overall, how would you describe your experience at Skills 4 Life?
Sarah: Emilee really enjoys spending time with her friends and experiencing new things while there.
Kaitlyn: It’s been a great learning adventure working on this program and to see young adults become confident.
What would you say to someone else who might be considering attending Skills 4 Life?
Sarah: Emilee really enjoys Skills 4 Life and would recommend anyone thinking about trying it to give it a go.
Kaitlyn: If you want to learn life skills – Skills 4 Life is the way to go! It’s a fun and enjoyable learning environment for teens.
From Term 3, 2018, Skills 4 Life will be running in 11 Northcott locations – Ballina, Campbelltown, Casula, Coffs Harbour, Hornsby, Oak Flats, Parramatta, Penrith, Seven Hills, Tamworth and Taree. Visit our Events page to find out about a program running in your local area.