Researching and Role Playing to Help Transition Aged Youth

This activity was designed to give volunteers practice using a variety of skills covered during a workshop about helping teens who age out of the foster care system beat the odds. The mix of researching, planning, and role-playing helped the volunteers understand the material better, and feel confident that they could use their new knowledge right away..

Activity: Making a Path to the Future

Part 1

Put the learners into groups of 2-4. Give each group a card describing a child (his/her name, age, school status, current and future challenges, any medical or mental health considerations.).

Tell them that after weeks of meeting with that child regularly, they have finally started to open up to the possibility of making a better life for themselves through a career.

Today, they told you that they think they would like to be a ____________ (assign a career that requires some kind of advanced training – beautician, lawyer, veterinarian, auto mechanic, etc.….), but that they think it is too late for them to be that now, based on their background, school records, and individual challenges.

Task the group with researching what it takes to get their dream job, and make a path from where they are to where they want to be. Note other careers available if they only make it part way (for example, if they go to be a veterinarian, finish their undergrad degree in biology, but don’t go to grad school, what are some animal related jobs they could still get?).

Part 2

Once that is finished, have the groups role play discussing their plan with the child in question. The key points are to help them see how this could be possible, help them understand what they have to do to get there (go to school every day, make good grades, volunteer, etc.…), and get them excited about their own potential.

During the role play, make a plan together to overcome the next small obstacle (for example, passing their current biology class).

Part 3

Have the groups share what they learned from their research and from their role plays