In fact, a person’s brain doesn’t fully develop until sometime between the ages of 25 and 35, according to Amy Pearson, executive director/psychotherapist of a national organization, On Point, that also reaches out across the globe. According to the organization’s website, On Point's curriculum is used in more than 40 states and 13 countries.
Shannon Matthews, development director for Cleveland On Point, joined Pearson in describing the program’s outreach during a recent breakfast gathering of the Bradley Sunrise Rotary. The program teaches the importance of life skills, healthy choices and smart decision-making to local students.
On Point’s educators work in school classrooms helping to support local students through programs like Think On Point and Life On Point. On Point has been serving the community for more than 20 years, bringing knowledge and ongoing support to more than 15,000 students each year, according to its website, as well as providing teens with the skills to make smarter decisions.
“We are giving developmental assets to our youth,” Pearson said. “We will have served 4,000 students in Cleveland alone by the end of the last (school) year.”
On Point covers such issues as driving, health, smoking and alcohol that young people face.
On Point helps build critical thinking, as well as skills, to help avoid choosing risky behaviors. According to Pearson, it takes 40 building blocks to build a healthy young person. And, the more building blocks students have, the less likely they are to choose risky behaviors.
“They thrive if they have 31 to 40 assets. ... We seek to wrap as many of those assets around our young people. ... But if (a youngster) makes one risky choice,” Pearson said, “it’s likely they’ll make other risky choices. ... It’s our work to teach students to make healthy choices.”
And how does On Point help youngsters thrive? According to its website, On Point:
— Empowers teens to identify and evaluate a positive support system of peers and adults;
— Sharpens critical thinking skills to analyze choices and how they impact their future;
— Instills factors that build resiliency to overcome past failures and injustices;
— Helps teens possess a vision for their future and steps to achieve it; and
— Increases a teen’s sense of self-worth.
And what qualities does a thriving youngster possess? What does a thriving youth look like? A few features include school success, leadership, helping others, maintenance of physical health, delay of gratification, valuing diversity and overcoming adversity.
And the students in the On Point classes seem to readily respond to these lessons. In fact, last year, in one area school, the On Point class had 70 students. This year, 400 students wanted to be a part of the program.
The Rotary model of “Service Above Self” is similar to the goals of the On Point program, Pat Fuller, president of the Sunrise Rotary, told Pearson.
The program is funded through state grants, as well as private donations. But the federal funding it enjoyed for nine years has now stopped, so those running the program are trying to find additional funding to make up the difference.
For more information, visit www.liveonpoint.org.
- Sally Poston, Bradley Sunrise Rotary secretary, and Cheryl Dunson, Sunrise Rotary member, bestowed a Paul Harris Fellow on Elisa Porter, Sunrise Rotary treasurer. Both Poston and Dunson said they wanted to acknowledge Porter’s hard work and also honor her because “she has done so much in this club.” This will be Porter’s first Paul Harris Fellow.
- Johnny McDaniel, director of the Bradley County Schools, became the newest Sunrise Rotarian. “It’s a blessing for me to be in this community,” McDaniel said.
- The Bradley Sunrise Rotary will hold its “Celebration” membership drive month in October.
- The Bradley Sunrise Rotary has been given a friendly challenge by the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland to see who can raise the most for the upcoming Oct. 11 CASA Walk.