Foundation Makes Noted Life Skills Training Curriculum Free for Schools, Youth Programs

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With state budget cuts forcing many school districts to skimp on any type of education that won’t appear on a standardized test, one life skills program provider has developed a philanthropic solution to help proliferate the product.

The Community for Education Foundation’s “Gifting Initiative” has brought in more than $500,000 in donations to help make its Overcoming Obstacles curriculum available free for after-school programs, middle schools and high schools.

With dwindling dollars at their disposal, said CEF Executive Director Erin Capone, “many schools lack the resources necessary to implement this important curriculum.”

The New York-based CEF was founded in 1992 by Jill Chalsty, who donated $500,000 to the Gifting Initiative with her husband, John, who is chairman of Muirfield Capital Management.

Its primary mission is to provide Overcoming Obstacles and related teacher training and technical support. According to the organization it has helped implement the curriculum in Atlanta, Indianapolis, Jersey City, Kansas City and New York. New York has made the program available to all of its 850 middle and high schools.

The curriculum includes 80 full lesson plans and about 500 activities focused on character traits such as confidence, stress management and assertive behavior.

To qualify for the free curriculum, schools and programs must commit to using it at least once each week, creating an implementation plan that includes teacher training, and complete surveys aimed at measuring the impact of Overcoming Obstacles.

Participating schools receive the full program (which includes printed and online curriculum materials, teacher trainings, and ongoing support/technical assistance) for free. CEF only gifts the curriculum to schools or school districts, but it will train an after-school program staff to use it in programs that are based at the school.

Click here for more information on Gifting Initiative.