Many of the participants receive free and reduced lunches and are recipients of benefits provided by the Department of Social Services. The student participants have daily challenges, but in spite of them, maintain good grades and none of them in the program have been victims of teen pregnancy or criminal activity. In fact, several of them are honor students and have entered community or four-year colleges, or they have gone on to the regular workforce after graduation.
The primary goal of the Grier Height’s project is to have participating youth continue to take a critical view of themselves in order to make better choices, exercise healthy life skills and realize the importance of becoming great through service. The sessions address the following goals:
Another major component is to help the participants develop healthy eating and living practices: preparing easy afterschool snacks, exercising, and hydrating. Students regularly receive fresh fruit, bottled water, and high-protein snacks.
Discover Your Style Part III: Greatness Is Measured by Service allows youth participants to learn the meaning of giving and achieving true greatness through community service. They will also develop a greater understanding of community pride, servant leadership, service/volunteerism, character, integrity and higher education. They are learning to have positive attitudes by discovering who they are and who they can become. Another goal is to help them understand more about how others can evaluate them positively on their appearances, demeanor and conversation, which are all reflected in their attitudes and character. The goal of focusing on self should reinforce the notion of thinking independently and not giving in to peer pressure. Societal pressures emphasize material wealth, early sexual activity, disrespect of self and a sense of entitlement over selfless giving and humility. The art instructors and program leaders conduct sessions that address everyday challenges for teens through art. Also used are pre- and post-survey instruments to measure the knowledge base of participants and their retention of materials and skills taught.
The program is managed by the Community Relations Department and the director of community relations.