It's obvious to many at-risk youth in St. Croix that their future prospects are bleak. They're living in poverty, doing poorly in school, and lack positive role models and the tools to make good decisions. Add in the impact of Hurricane Maria one year later many children are still dealing with the trauma of losing their homes, possessions, schools, and, often, the family's source of income and things look even bleaker. It's no wonder so many of these youth give up and turn to risky behaviors.
These youth face multiple challenges. To help them turn their lives around, a holistic approach is needed. Programs that address just one or two of the many issues they face are not likely to succeed.
Project Promise, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk youth on St. Croix, has created an intensive, holistic, multi-year after-school program that has already proven successful. Called the Caterpillar Project, the program includes everything from tutoring, life coaching and mentoring to community service, career exploration, personal wellness, creative expression, cultural awareness and family support services.
Project Promise is working to change lives on youth at a time, and we are succeeding. Our Caterpillar Project has already resulted in: Skyrocketing academics - The lowest grades among participants have gone from 54% to 80%, and our students are now winning academic honors. Very improved behavior - Explosiveness is way down, thoughtfulness is way up. Big impact on the community - Hundreds of people Island-wide have benefited from the program's many community service projects.