SMART GUIDES: Preparing Youth for Adult Independence and Work

Smart Transitions is a program initiative of the Together We Can Foundation based on the latest brain research, which has revealed just how important the time period of 12 to 24 years of age is for adult brain development and connectivity. The period in a young person’s life that stretches from puberty through adolescence and into their young adult years is a critical time for the development of an adult-functioning brain. While we may not be able to impact the neurological timetable of brain development, we can do a much better job of promoting socialization and behavioral maturation.

One of the things we have found that truly leads to Smart Transitions are “transition conversations.” That means engaging youth in serious and open-ended conversation about their futures, their dreams, and their plans. This is the secret behind the success of our small classes targeting at-risk teens. But we also understand that the need is far too great for any one organization to address on its own, so Smart Transitions is also a community initiative. It involves school systems, human service agencies, and non-profit organizations serving youth.

We’ve taken some of the best information from our youth programs and made it available in print guides and workbooks to help teachers, parents, mentors, and youth program staff facilitate these transition conversations with the youth in their care. This is our Smart Transitions Guide Program.

If you are a non-profit or community agency serving youth in Hampton Roads and Southeastern Virginia, you may be eligible to receive Smart Guides for your youth and Smart Guide training for your staff.

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GET SET GUIDE:
A Smart Guide to Adult Life

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GET WORK:
A Smart Guide to Work

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GET MONEY:
A Smart Guide to Finances

GET SET: A Smart Guide to Adult Life

is a great compilation of useful things to know about preparation, education, and planning on the path to adult independence. It’s based on over 30 years of experience working with young adults and draws on work with focus groups made up of both youth and adults who serve them.

It begins with a section about what makes someone an adult and explores the legal, biological, social, developmental, financial, and behavioral definitions for adulthood in our culture. From there, the GET SET Guide covers topics such as:

  • What can I do to be better prepared for adult life?
  • What do I need in order to be successful?
  • How do I prepare for a career?
  • How do I get a job?
  • How do I stay happy?

Filled with great conversation starters, checklists, and suggestions, this profusely illustrated, 48 page, full-color guide is the perfect way to provide structure to a parent/child, teacher/student, or mentor/youth interaction.

GET WORK: A Smart Guide to Work

is an exploration of really useful things to know about finding and keeping a job and building a career. It’s based on over 30 years of experience at helping young adults figure out how work works and how to prepare for and enter the adult world of work.

It begins with a section focused on finding a job that takes you beyond the basics of filling out job applications. It offers the kind of success skills that make people excel at interviewing for jobs and getting hired. Part two helps you understand why people get retained and promoted at work and how to continue to present yourself in the best possible light. Part three explores the relationship between planning, personality, and what makes you happy in building a career.

  • Do you know the qualities that employers are looking for?
  • Do you know how to make yourself attractive at an interview?
  • Do you know how to make yourself memorable to a potential employer?
  • Do you know what the four things an employer evaluates you on every day?
  • Do you know how to handle challenging situations at work?
  • Does the kind of work you plan to do match your personality?
  • Do you know the relationship between money, work, and happiness?

Filled with great conversation starters, checklists and suggestions, this profusely illustrated, 48 page, full color guide is the perfect wat to provide structure to a parent/child, teacher/student, or mentor/youth interaction.

GET MONEY: A Smart Guide to Finances

is a collection of really important tips for managing your money for independence. Produced with the sponsorship of Towne Bank, this guide takes you beyond the skills of making money (covered in GET WORK: A Smart Guide to Work) and into the skills you need to effectively manage your money.

It begins with some of the basics of budgeting, tracking, and managing money and moves into setting and managing smart financial goals. Section three covers money for independence and expands on those basic skills for the goal of living on your own. Section four looks at the importance of banks and banking. Section five is about money for emergencies and covers savings accounts, credit cards, insurance plans and loans.
Section 6 addresses money for your future.

  • Do you know how to create a basic budget for yourself?
  • Do you know the four types of expenses you will encounter?
  • Do you know how to create “S.M.A.R.T.” financial goals?
  • Do you know how to budget for independent living?
  • Do you know why banks are important and what they can do for you?
  • Do you have a strategy for a financial emergency?
  • Do you know how to prepare for your future and protect your money?

Filled with great conversation starters, checklists and suggestions, this profusely illustrated, 56 page, full color guide is the perfect wat to provide structure to a parent/child, teacher/student, or mentor/youth interaction.