Skip to Main Content

JOY Project Gets Students Ready for Life After School

The Lincoln County School District serves the entire county with the vision of “Every Child, Every Day, Future Ready.” It provides education for 5,500 students throughout the county from kindergarten through high school, with the aim of developing critical reading and thinking skills in them so they can enter adulthood with options and ability to achieve their dreams.

The district offers the Job Opportunities for Youth (JOY) Project to provide students with training and work experience to lead into a trade program or career after high school. JOY Project participants often face a variety of barriers ranging from not having legal identification, bank account or work experience, to facing issues like poverty, trauma, food insecurity, unstable housing or living as an unaccompanied youth without their parent or guardian.    

Students in this program participate in academic tutoring, the opportunity to obtain a food handler’s card, learn first aid and CPR, develop their resume, participate in mock job interviews and go on field trips to major employers throughout the county. As they progress through the JOY Project, they can be hired into jobs with the school district which helps them obtain work documents, followed by employment in the community.

“The JOY Project has successfully supported students since 2013. We originally started with six youth and it has grown into a comprehensive system of support for more than 70 youth,” said Katey Townsend, program coordinator. “We have seen tremendous progress in the lives of the JOY Project participants. For example, the dropout rate for this group of students went from 13.94% in 2015-16 down to 5% in 2017-18.”

Samaritan has supported the JOY program for three years with Social Accountability grants. These funds supported the staffing and training costs, which has allowed the district to bring more students into the program.

“Much of the JOY Program’s growth is definitely attributed to the Social Accountability grants from Samaritan,” Townsend said. “The financial support creates a stable program for many local youth that need help navigating life between high school and adulthood.”

Background image: CHIR JOY Program 308 BGC

In 2019, the JOY Project:

  • Offered 31 JOY Club sessions to high school students in Lincoln County.
  • Worked with 70 students through JOY Clubs.
  • Helped 41 students attain employment with the school district and 30 students attain jobs elsewhere in the county.

In photo: Sheri Adams, Joy Program specialist, with students at Toledo High School

Background image: teen support group

Other Partners in Supporting Programs & Services for Healthy Teens

  • Faith, Home and Charity, Inc.
  • Jackson Street Youth Services