"The class brought [my student] to a point where she realized
that no one could do this for her and that it was time for her to
be accountable and take ownership for her actions.
“I didn’t know how to get started with my dream. Not
until I got to YAC. Now I will graduate with a degree in business
and contacts in the industry. I know I’m able to overcome
my past and start a great future.”
-Ebony, Age 18
Getting Beyond the System®
Getting Beyond the System was developed by
the Youth Advocacy Center as a comprehensive educational program to
teach teens self-advocacy concepts and skills and provide a foundation
for them to face the challenges of independence, including job readiness
and preparedness for continuing education. The core
components of the program consist of orientation and outreach,
the self-advocacy seminar, informational interviews and evaluation.
YAC created a theory and practice of self-advocacy based on legal
advocacy and education principles: mastering the ability to plan and
execute a strategy for reaching a goal using a dynamic range of intellectual,
analytical, and communication skills. Self-advocacy is useful in an
infinite number of situations—from an individual getting a good job
to a student engaging a teacher for extra support to a patient receiving
proper medical attention. For teens,
this is a critical skill to become successful adults.
The GBS curriculum was developed to teach self-advocacy to teens,
based on the case method and Socratic method adapted from law school
education. The curriculum and teaching challenges the students and
maintains their involvement through its relevancy to their lives.
Highly skilled facilitators teach this rigorous and intellectually
challenging seminar in a small class setting. The seminar teachers
are trained by YAC to use the Socratic method and work with teens
on studying cases in the Getting Beyond the System Self-Advocacy
Casebook to develop higher-level critical thinking skills and
prepare them for informational interviews.
YAC holds its students to the highest standards. Students are required
to fully participate in the seminar: attend the self-advocacy seminar
weekly for one semester, complete written homework before each class,
engage in class discussion, and complete the final project - an informational
interview. From the application process to class participation and
homework to informational interviews, YAC has carefully planned the
seminar to be the most effective experience for teens to learn to
set goals and develop self-advocacy skills for reaching those goals.
The teens’ success relies on both the quality of our program and their
motivation and commitment to the work. Our students rise
to these challenges because of their motivation to do something
important with their future.