Teen 365 Helps Teens Create Pathways to Happy and Successful Adulthoods
Teen 365 is a year-round program for youth ages 12–18 that supports the vision and mission of Pima County Public Library services to young adults by ensuring that all YA programs support teens in developing skills, connections, and opportunities to create a successful and happy adulthood. The program has a holistic framework that addresses all aspects of teen development, from academic goals to social and personal interests.
The program is based on the principles of Connected Learning, a youth-centered approach to learning that provides interest-driven programming with connection to peers and mentors who support academic and/or career achievement. When YA programs are intentionally designed with these components, teens become deeply engaged in the learning process and outcomes are transformational.
Teen 365 also supports the wider community by increasing Pima County’s skilled workforce. This is accomplished by providing teens with the skills and experience needed to succeed in a 21st-century workplace. Through volunteer, internship, and youth leadership programs at the library, teens develop skills such as problem solving, communication, and critical thinking, all of which are necessary to succeed in a competitive, quickly changing work environment.
Pima County Library’s Teen 365 provides four program paths for teens: Seek, Make, Lead, and Tech. A mixture of both system-wide and branch-specific programs expand learning opportunities. For example, a teen may be introduced to the concepts of computer coding at a branch program, and then later participate in a week long coding workshop. “Seek” programs focus on teaching/sharing information or services that support personal discovery. “Make” programs are production-oriented, including media creation, arts and crafts, and film or audio. “Lead” programs promote and build leadership skills and civic engagement, and “Tech” programs have a technology or game focus.
Skill certificates are presented to teens upon completion of each program path. The certificates help make the learning tangible, so teens can easily make a connection between the program activity and the skills they learned through participating in it. They can then reference these skills on résumés, job applications, job interviews, and college applications. Skills certificates are also a helpful resource for parents as they assist their teen on job or college applications, and can be a way for them to discover and share the interests of their teen. To further support and encourage participation, quarterly prize drawings are held for teens to win items related to each path, helping to bridge the digital divide and provide teens with tools to deepen their learning. These prizes are also a way for teens to share their interests at home with their families.