GRANT FUNDS USED TO INSPIRE, TRAIN AND DEVELOP LOCAL YOUTH
Jonathan Mooney, renowned inspirational speaker, writer, and neuro-diversity activist, will be speaking at Humboldt County High Schools the week of May 9. Mooney has extensive experience working with youth who face challenges—he vividly, humorously and passionately brings to life a wonderful world of neuro-diversity. Mooney is a dyslexic writer and activist who did not learn to read until he was 12 years old. He is a graduate of Brown University’s class of 2000 and holds an honors degree in English Literature. Mooney conveys the message, “You’re not broken.”
Mooney will also present a three-hour session to youth service providers at the Humboldt County Office of Education on May 11. His message will be how to effectively engage and serve all youth in our community, helping to define what it means for 21st century youth to think, learn, and be successful. Labeled “dyslexic and profoundly learning disabled,” Mooney was a “short bus rider” in school. To learn how others had moved beyond labels he bought his own short bus and set out cross-country looking for kids who had dreamed up magical, beautiful ways to overcome the obstacles that separated them from the so-called normal world. His autobiography, The Short Bus, is an irreverent and poignant record of his odyssey in a short, yellow bus looking for kids who had moved beyond labels. Mooney is also the author of Learning Outside the Lines.
The Humboldt County Office of Education is bringing Mooney to Humboldt County utilizing funds obtained through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Grant that consisted of $130,000 to be used over a two year period. This federal grant has provided funding for Transitional Partnership Program (TPP) youth workers in Hoopa, McKinleyville, Arcata, Eureka, Ferndale, Fortuna and Southern Humboldt. Funds have been used to purchase equipment for the school sites and students including paper shredders, copy machines, time clocks, cash registers, and other items used in teaching students important work skills. TPP Case Workers were hired to work with the students while in school and after school to help them obtain and keep their jobs. Workforce Preparedness Academies were created in several locations to provide special instruction in work-related skills including stocking shelves, cleaning, running a cash register, work ethics and others. Students in the program fulfilled one day internships in local businesses to help reinforce their new job skills. An informational DVD called “Your Success Starts Here” was created in cooperation with the Department of Rehabilitation. A second DVD is currently being developed—it will contain vignettes of training sessions to be used in working with students in the future.