This year a main focus for the Osceola County Bar Association is understanding and giving back to the community. As a part of reaching that goal, the Bar is developing a program to help teens in the community. The program is called Start STRONG and components are being developed by members of the Bar. Start STRONG is a two-part program that consists of a kickoff session and continues with a mentoring relationship that runs for the rest of the school year. The target audience is at risk teens which we hope to reach out to through the Department of Juvenile Justice and other community programs.

The kickoff session will occur on Saturday, September 24, 2016, 8:30AM – 3PM at the First United Methodist Church of Kissimmee and include 6 different stations teaching the elements of STRONG to teens. S-Success focuses on certain skills that lead to success based on the book Seven Habits for Highly Effective Teens; T-Time Management focuses on setting priorities and making sure time is allocated correctly for those priorities; R-Responsibility focuses on the fact that every action has potentially positive and negative consequences and learning to take ownership of the outcome; O- Osceola County focuses on service of the community not just the county as a whole but your neighborhood, school, or family as the community; N-Networking focusing on choosing friendships carefully, learning how to make friends, treating all people with respect; G-Growth focusing on personal growth and goal setting. Sessions will be led by Bar members. Ultimately we want the teens to leave feeling like they understand how to approach life in a positive way.

The second portion of the program is the mentoring aspect. The Department of Juvenile Justice previously had COMP (Community Outreach and Mentoring Program) but the Department can no longer sustain the program so we hope that our members can replace this program by serving as mentors through the remainder of the school year. We will pair as many as we can, based on the number of volunteers that we have.

To fund the program, the Bar has already received a grant from the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division to put on the program and give each teen a copy of 7 Habits for Highly Effect Teens. Additional support will come from funds raised at the Osceola Bar Gala.

We invite you to volunteer and give your time to serving our wonderful community and invest in its future. We already have leaders for each session but we still need more mentors and volunteers to help with logistics and assist the session leaders. If you are interested or have any questions, please email Celeste Thacker at [email protected].