Pact Teen & Tween Clubs
Pact’s program is designed especially for adopted and fostered teens of color - non-adopted siblings are also invited to participate. Separate Teen and Tween gatherings focus on both social interactions among the youth and mentoring by adult adoptees and fostered adults as well as non-adopted allies of color. Our Mentors/Chaperones have designed a curriculum tailored to adopted and fostered youth of African American, African, Latino, Asian and Native American descent to explore their feelings and experiences related to adoption and race. Often youth who are reluctant to talk about these issues with parents or friends; find comfort and community with our Teen and Tween community. Many participants experience understanding while learning new ways to grow into strong, conscious young adults.
Monthly meetings are held during the school year and include mentoring sessions, facilitated discussions about race, being adopted and identity, a few fieldtrips and offsite activities as well as social activities and projects where youth are given the opportunity to mentor younger members of the Pact community. These activities not only allow time for friendships to form and grow, but incorporate creative and expressive ways for youth to think about their lives as adopted and fostered people. The youth often become very close and cohorts are formed by ongoing participation, so that although it is possible to attend for only selected sessions we encourage families to sign up for the full session.
Pact Teen Club (Ages 13 - 18)
Teen Club is a social group especially for adopted and fostered teens of color—although all adopted and or foster youth are invited to participate. A teen’s job is to figure out who he or she is in the world. During the teen years, youth begin to find ways to function independently, as responsible adults. For adopted and foster kids of color, this evolution brings up feelings about adoption and genetic/racial/heritage issues on a deeper level than many of their peers. If adolescence involves a crisis in identity, it stands to reason that adopted and foster teenagers will face additional complications: multiple sets of parents, multiple cultural connections and sometimes opposing values within each. Teen Club offers youth the opportunity to dig deeper into these questions with supportive guidance that gives them the strength to find positive solutions in their home and school lives, giving youth a protective factor as they face the unique challenges of growing up as an adopted person of color in a racist and adoptist world.
Pact Tween Club (Ages 10 - 12)
The Tween group meets separately from the Teen group, although on occasion the two groups will spend some time together. The tween years can start as young as ten or eleven, and have often been compared with the preschool years because of the dramatic changes that occur during the move to greater independence. Tweens develop a new ability to be introspective and analytical and develop new views of the world, some of which may be challenging to adults. Emotionally, their job is to become "their own person." For adopted and foster kids, this raises identity issues perhaps on a deeper level than has ever been possible before. The Tween Club provides a safe place where kids can find friends, share experiences, and be supported as they begin the transition into full Teen status.
Pact's Leadership and Club CoordinatorsDeanna Matthews, Pact’s Education Coordinator handles all of the logistics involved in planning and staffing for each meeting. You can contact her with any questions or concerns. Lisa Kelly, Pact’s Youth Coordinator, generally plans the curriculum for the youth and as an adopted person of color is deeply invested in Pact’s approach to youth empowerment around issues of race, adoption and identity. Other staff include Jaci Bayer as well as other members of our talented and committed counselor staff, many of whom are either adoptees or foster alum themselves.
CIT Program for Adopted and Fostered Youth of Color (and their siblings)Our Tween Club Counselor-in-Training program gives older teens (age 16 and up) the opportunity to participate with the younger youth in a mentorship role while earning Community Service Hours (5 hours per month). Being a CIT at Pact Tween Club is fun and also demands a lot of hard work and responsibility. It’s important to realize that if you are accepted, you become part of the team that makes Tween Club work for 10-12-year-old youth. CITs are required to participate as Teen Club members after they complete their CIT duties with Tween Club. Youth eighteen-years-old and up, who have already demonstrated leadership skills with the youth, are invited to become Junior counselors with our Tween Club program.