It’s My Life! A Guide to Alternatives After High School

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Edited by Janine Schwab
American Friends Service Committee
92 pages. $9.95.

Addressing those facing “the transition from high school to the real world – especially if you’re not planning on college right now,” this attractive paperback offers imaginative options. It encourages youth to take a year off before committing themselves to education or the military, to “have an adventure,” raise cash, build skills and learn what fits. Colorful graphics enhance a wealth of ideas in digestible bites, leading to websites and other resources.

The basics of finding shelter, meals and transportation are here, as well as unusual internships from sled dog racing to building guitars. A timely chapter covers green businesses, organic farming, natural building, and more. Other chapters focus on career choice, travel, apprenticeships, and paying for college.

True to the Friends’ mission, a “Serving Your Country” chapter shows that service need not be military. One can join AmeriCorps or social justice organizations, or focus one’s occupation on peacemaking and social change. The military is mentioned obliquely when financial aid sources are supplied for those who, “for reasons of conscience, do not comply with Selective Service Laws.” Additional publications containing local resources from nine states can be downloaded free online, from a list of “alternatives to the military.” The book avoids such labels but is an excellent source of non-military options.

Guidance counselors, teachers, mentors, parents and youth workers of all kinds can share this quality resource with high school seniors and recent graduates, from youths aging out of foster care to anyone in need of direction and purpose. (215) 241-7176,