TAP Program

first_imgBy April SorrowUniversity of GeorgiaElbert and Putnam counties will participate in a ground breaking program for high-risk students. What is learned will benefit the entire state, say specialists with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. The Teens as Planners, or TAP, program aims to provide 15 students from each county with experiences that will give them a strong sense of belonging by improving their knowledge and skills relating to community service and workforce development, said Sharon Gibson, the program director. Students are nominated to participate in the program through school administrators or other community support resources. “We are excited about the opportunity to work with high school students, improving grades as well as retention and job preparation,” said Al Parker, a UGA Extension agent in Putnam County. “We want to take 15 students who have challenges and hopefully guide them through school toward a positive outcome.” What is learned about the pilot program in Elbert and Putnam counties will be used to develop guidelines to replicate and implement the program across the state. It’s funded through a grant by USDA Children Youth and Families at Risk – Sustainable Communities Program. The five-year program will start this fall with $100,000. Funding will increase each year as the program expands to include more students. Youth as decision makers“Teens will guide the direction we go in,” said Christa Campbell, a UGA Extension agent in Elbert County. “As long as they are interested, they will stay engaged. It should be what they want. Not what we want.”Students will identify a critical need in the community and learn the skills they need to make a difference. Identifying a big picture problem like homelessness, nutrition or alternative energy may seem ambitious, but this type of thinking is exactly what Gibson has in mind. “It is a big picture, but we can take small bites out – nibble away until they take a big bite out of a big problem,” Gibson said. The program has a high-tech focus, including photography, filmmaking, applied science and geographic information systems training.“Our youth are more technically involved today than in the past. Providing them with these skills will make them marketable upon graduation and help them pursue college or wherever life may take them at that point,” Campbell said. The Putnam County community is already rallying behind the program, Parker said. “More than 70 people representing several youth organizations came to a community meeting willing to assist with the program,” he said. The students will visit universities, the state capitol and other locations across state lines. Along the way, they will document their work and compile a documentary of their experiences. “At the end of the five years we will have two films demonstrating the impact of teens as planners and as contributors,” Gibson said. Stop dropout, teen pregnancyHigh school dropout rates in both Elbert and Putnam exceed the national and state averages. According to the 2008 Georgia County Guide, more than 36 percent of Putnam County students and 38 percent of Elbert County students fail to graduate from high school on time. The counties have high rates of teen pregnancy. In 2007, 53 percent of pregnancies in Elbert County were to teen mothers. It was 48 percent in Putnam County, according to Kids Count. “Something has to be done to improve our teen pregnancy and dropout rates in Putnam County,” Parker said. “In five years, I would like to see a much-improved dropout rate and see many of our students continuing education at college.” “I see this as a program that will provide a support network for youth that may not otherwise have the opportunity to learn needed life skills or have the encouragement needed to graduate on time,” Campbell said. “This program will work because someone is there that cares. It is not just community service, it is the total package. We want to give them the basic life skills they need for graduation and for the rest of their life.”(April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Bolt completes golden hat-trick as Jamaica romps to sprint relay glory

first_imgThe U.S finished second in 37.56 seconds with Canada taking the bronze after Britain were disqualified for a faulty handover.The 26-year-old Bolt has now collected eight gold medals at world championships, equaling the record held by American trio Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson and Allyson Felix, not to mention the small matter of six Olympic titles.The relay triumph followed individual successes in the 100 and 200 meters in the Russian capital.“I’m proud of myself and I’ll continue to work to dominate for as long as possible,” Bolt said, having previously expressed his intention to carry on until the 2016 Rio Olympics.Victory was never seriously in doubt once he got the baton safely in hand from Ashmeade, while Gatlin and the United States third leg runner Rakieem Salaam had problems.Gatlin strayed out of his lane as he struggled to get full control of their baton and was never able to get on terms with Bolt.Earlier, Jamaica’s women underlined their dominance in the sprint events by winning the 4x100m relay gold, anchored by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who like Bolt was completing a triple.Their quartet recorded a championship record of 41.29 seconds, well clear of France, who crossed the line in second place in 42.73 seconds.Defending champions, the United States, were initially back in the bronze medal position after losing time on the second handover between Alexandria Anderson and English Gardner, but promoted to silver when France were subsequently disqualified for an illegal handover.The British quartet, who were initially fourth, were promoted to the bronze which eluded their men’s team.Fraser-Pryce, like Bolt aged 26, became the first woman to achieve three golds in the 100-200 and the relay.In other final action on the last day of the championships, France’s Teddy Tamgho became the third man to leap over 18m in the triple jump, exceeding the mark by four centimeters to take gold.Germany’s Christina Obergfoll finally took gold at global level in the women’s javelin after five previous silvers, while Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop easily won a tactical men’s 1500m final.Kiprop’s compatriot Eunice Jepkoech Sum was a surprise winner of the women’s 800m.Bolt’s final dash for golden glory brought the eight-day championship to a rousing finale, but while the hosts topped the medal table from the United States there was criticism of the poor attendances in the Luzhniki Stadium.There was further concern when their pole vault gold medalist Yelena Isinbayeva made controversial remarks in support of Russia’s new laws, which make “the propagandizing of non-traditional sexual relations among minors” a criminal offense.She later attempted to clarify her comments, but there were renewed calls by gay rights groups for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, the next major sports event in Russia. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, second from left, competes in the men’s 200-meter final at the World Athletics Championships in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze) (CNN) — Usain Bolt rounded off the world championships Sunday by claiming his third gold in Moscow as he anchored Jamaica to victory in the men’s 4x100m relay.The fastest man in the world charged clear of United States rival Justin Gatlin as the Jamaican quartet of Nesta Carter, Kemar Bailey-Cole, Nickel Ashmeade and Bolt won in 37.36 seconds. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt celebrates winning the men’s 200-meter final at the World Athletics Championships in the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)last_img read more