Youth Life Skills Training

In the world of school and home, youth need to have healthy communication skills, be able to operate in a family environment and learn strategies for school success. Developing life skills is essential to handle daily life challenges and stresses. Knowing and developing these life skills takes effort and investment.

  1. Definition

    • Money management, looking for a job, time management, finding a place to live and keeping that place clean are a few of the life skills that our youth need to acquire to prepare for independent living as an adult. A list of life skills includes things such as cooking, cleaning and reading in addition to the ability to handle the demands of daily life, along with its stresses and enjoying healthy social interaction with people. Life skills are learned behaviors that must be developed.

    Training Sources

    • Organizations such as the YMCA and YWCA offer youth life skills training classes in the community. Public schools and nonprofit organizations have programs offering life skills training. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention approaches training as a family with parents and students participating in programs at the same time. Curriculum and summer camps offer life skills training. Mentoring programs are available through community organizations and offer training in life skills through the mentoring relationship.

    Parental Involvement

    • Programs that offer life skills training encourage and support parental involvement. The University of Wisconsin Extension, Strengthening Families Program is one such program. Offering group curriculum for all ages, this is an "evidence-based" program with confirmed successful results. When parents and children participate in these programs together, the success rate is increased. Family-centered programs combine separate group activities for parents and youth by age group, in addition to combining the families at some points in the program.

    Mentoring Programs

    • Mentoring opportunities are available nationally; state agencies provide lists of mentoring opportunities. The United States Department of Labor promotes "Career Focused" Mentoring in which an adult guides and encourages a youth by helping them develop and reach goals such as school success, obtaining a job or planning for college. Places such as Spectrum Youth and Family Services in Vermont provide assistance for youth through many different educational programs, mentoring programs, life skills training--even food and shelter if needed.


    • Offering life skills training in the form of curriculum for classrooms, community organizations, youth groups and even government programs, many companies have developed successful programs that can be purchased. When reviewing curriculum you will see the term "evidence based." This is curriculum that has shown a high success rate based on participation in the program itself, not factors outside the program. Some summer camps are specifically geared for developing youth life skills.

    Time and Money

    • Investing in youth life skills' training takes time, but it does not have to take money since many communities offer programs that are already in operation. If you are in an area that does not have a program and you would like to start one, you can tap into resources for funding your program. Botvin Life Skills training ( offers a curriculum for sale; however, it also has free resources offering guidelines for grant writing and ideas for funding your program.

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  • Photo Credit Cheerful youth image by Aliaksandr Zabudzko from

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