“Jeremiah's Promise has achieved meaningful and sustained impact for transition-age foster youth through deeper engagement unique to Navitent, which balances task-based structure with the ability to interact privately or in a group forum while keeping everyone focused on the goals at hand. We were able to turn our most transformative conversations with youth into a GPS for school, work and life, achieving unprecedented results step by step and day by day.”
- Kim Golter, Founder and CEO
After Navitent, They Didn’t Look Like the Same People
They didn’t look like the same people! After determinedly completing a 21-day Navitent Map, foster youth bridging from high school to college appeared radically different than they did on Day One. Proudly decked out in their best professional attire, our students entered the classroom on the last day with a confident demeanor - heads up, shoulders back. They smiled and talked easily among each other and with us. This was a far cry from their first day, when some of them were in full freak-out mode. Others had arrived with eyes downturned, shoulders slumped, avoiding contact. But not on Day 21. These kids had attained something meaningful that we had never been able to achieve in such a short period of time.
We have led our students to success by taking the most significant, transformative conversations that we have had with them over the years and turning them into a “GPS” that others could follow. Using Navitent, we developed Navitent Maps for them along with structured Navitent Trails and daily Navitent Guides specific to the most-often recurring themes of those conversations with our youth. We placed them in small groups through Navitent’s social media forum to connect them to emerging adults in the US and abroad who are going through situations to which they can relate. They can post to us directly for more guidance and encouragement.
Our success and theirs was gained through purposeful, interactive engagement on a consistent, daily basis. We broke through typical barriers that inspired trust. Their trust translated into a feeling of being respected and cared for, which in turn led to a brighter outlook over time, higher goals and more motivation.
Lessons Learned that Led Us Here
After nearly 16 years of working with youth who have a complex set of socio-emotional, academic, financial and other needs, we’ve discovered that accepted benchmarks heralded by social service agencies, foundations and non-profits are set up to fail everyone involved.
The conventional approach has created an impossible standard to meet, using tools that address only superficial aspects of the problem at best. Agencies claim success through numbers served, but how many of those “numbers” actually feel served, meaning fully supported and engaged?
No one is arguing that social-emotional aptitude, college completion and a higher-paying career path aren’t important goals. However, we have discovered that the lynchpin that helps these youth move forward is the ability to develop trust for the people leading them, eventually moving them toward greater accomplishments in every aspect of their young lives. It doesn’t work the other way around.
In our early years, we did everything right to hit the accepted benchmarks, yet the most we accomplished was a handful of “success” stories, staff burnout, emotional overload and buckling under raging financial pressures. Our 16 years finally moved us toward a level of genuine, focused care that has had far more impact, engaging our clients at deep levels without added stress or a negative impact on the bottom line. Quite the opposite.
Navitent worked. Finally, we have helped youth turn heartache into triumph, guiding them to activate their hope for the future with a plan that gets them there. There’s no going back, not for them and certainly not for us.
In Their Words
“This Trail made me think of my strengths, which I’m not used to doing. I can name my weaknesses easily, but I never stop to think about my strengths. In my Navitent Campfire, I wrote a lot of strengths and goals that I wanted to do. Overall? The subjects are real. I was able to relate to a lot of the situations, so that was awesome.” - CM
“I've heard a lot about what wisdom really is, and after this day’s Guide in particular, I'm starting to understand why I need it. I know that the road I'm taking will lead me to be a wise man.” - PB