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New Extended Education program supports those who help teens.

By Nancy Bartosek

Say you work with a nonprofit that helps disadvantaged kids, but don't know much about fundraising. Maybe you lack the technical skills to send out a mass mailing. Or you need more volunteers.

TCU Youth can help. A program launched by Extended Education in the fall, and funded by a three-year, $750,000 federal grant, TCU Youth will provide training and technical assistance to five faith-based or community organizations focused on the needs of young people ages 12-21.

"We will provide a much better support system for the people trying to do this work in the area," said Judy Shannon, coordinator for special projects at Extended Education. "Once we identify the needs, we'll develop classes and programs to help. We can teach them how to strengthen their board, raise funds, manage finances, work with volunteers, produce communication and marketing materials, get their computer system functional -- just about anything they need."

In addition to classes and individual training, administrators will oversee the TCU Youth Program Alliance, a coalition of the program partners and students as well as representatives from the Fort Worth police gang unit and county Child Protective Services. The alliance will meet quarterly to discuss needs and how to focus limited resources.

In addition, a creative summer internship will allow select students to work with the agencies. "This gives students a chance to explore the realities of that career choice," Shannon said.

Shannon, who has a 20-year history in corporate training and development with Hyatt hotels, is excited about the possibilities. "To have a passion to serve the community, then conceive a program and bring it to life -- and have the resources of TCU behind it -- is kind of like living a dream."

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