TOP® in CT FAQs
For Prospective Host Site Partners
1. Will our employees actually be the teachers/facilitators?
Your employees will not be the TOP® Club facilitators. We do ask that you have one staff member present during the TOP® Club to provide additional support to your young people through the consistent, caring relationships they have already developed with your youth. Our trained facilitators, who are employees of either Klingberg Family Centers or The Children’s Center of Hamden, will facilitate the TOP® Club. The TOP® Facilitators will let your staff know the lesson plans in advance so they will be prepared for the topics and they may identify areas where your staff member will be engaging young people in a particular way to ensure support and full engagement in the activity.
2. What if we don’t have the capacity to transport the youth to community service learning?
In the event that you do not have the capacity to transport young people to community service learning events, TOP® in CT staff members will work with your organizations to secure transportation alternatives. Be aware, though, that some community service activities may actually be connected to your organization or be located within your immediate area. In this case, young people can be engaged in these activities on-site or be able to walk to them.
3. What if our youth don’t respond well to the curriculum?
We will work with your staff members and young people to identify areas of interest to them. Young people have input into the lesson plans through this interest identification. In addition, if the TOP® Facilitators discover that young people are not responding well to the lessons, they have the ability to choose lessons from a different module or to put the lessons into a different order to meet the needs and interests of the young people. In the event that young people continue to struggle with engaging in the curriculum, TOP® in CT staff members will discuss this with your staff team to determine if the TOP® Club should continue.
4. Do the lessons take place during school or after school?
TOP® Clubs can take place either during school hours or after school. In most organizations, we are running TOP® Clubs as afterschool programs.
5. Would we have flexibility to change the times as need be?
We expect TOP® Clubs to run on a consistent schedule, same day and time each week. However, if there is a problem with the day or time initially chosen, we are willing to change the scheduled TOP® Club to a new day or time. We want to avoid having the TOP® Clubs meet on a changing schedule because we have found that consistency is important to the development of relationships within the Club and the engagement in activities and learning.
6. A lot of our youth don’t stay with us for nine months. Won’t this violate the requirements of the program?
The TOP® Model is a nine-month model. We recognize that this is a long time for many young people in out-of-home placement. It is our goal to start several TOP® Clubs in the community with open enrollment. We track attendance on all of the TOP® Participants in all TOP® Clubs; this includes what lessons they have experienced. If a young person is discharged prior to completing nine months in your TOP® Club, we will explore options to enable that young person to complete the full nine-month exposure, including enrollment in one of the community TOP® Clubs. We also expect to make some transportation stipends available to encourage these young people to attend the TOP® Club once they are discharged.
For more information about TOP® in CT, contact Cindy Carraway-Wilson at (207) 319-6009.