Youth Development and Counseling

Underserved youth are not problems to be solved or deficits to be surmounted. HEAF’s unique, asset-based approach to youth development—infused in all levels of programming —cultivates lifelong values of self-confidence, leadership, and social responsibility.

The Youth Development Department was designed to help youth develop and celebrate their social and emotional assets. Students explore ethics, values, leadership, identity and their relationship to the world around them. Activities focus on personal goal setting, teamwork and communications, problem solving and self exploration. Within a diverse environment of physical, cultural, philosophical, and social factors, students learn to articulate their personal values and self-identity through hands-on activities and discussion. Students develop leadership skills during retreats where young people are engaged in decision-making, critical thinking, problem solving, and team building exercises. Students then practice these skills in real-world settings, such as the Youth Leadership Council, community service activities and internships.

Our Counseling Department assists students in realizing their potential by addressing personal and social and emotional issues that may impede their academic progress and helping them to define strategies for managing themselves and their relationships with others. Counseling services include short-term goal oriented individual and family psychological counseling and referrals for potential learning differences. HEAF students are referred for counseling by the youth development staff, academic staff, program staff and/or family members.

Additional Youth Development Components

Youth Leadership Council

Youth Leadership Council offers middle school and high school students the opportunity to collaboratively take direct control of projects important to them, as well as gives voice to students to ensure consideration of their input in program implementation

Annual Youth Development

Annual Youth Development retreat gives students the opportunity to participate in character-building exercises