Developing Youth Leadership

America's Rising Stars

Focus

The Rising Stars program was designed to help today's young adults develop their personal leadership and character. Leadership is essential in enabling youth to develop character, confidence and values that promote the goal of healthy behavior.
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Character development is also critical for our youth as they encounter continuing challenges during their adolescent years. Research has shown a majority of American youth has engaged in health compromising behavior. In her pioneering book, Adolescents at Risk, Joy Dryfoos concluded that half of all ten to seventeen year olds were at high or moderate risk of undermining their chances for a healthy life because of substance abuse, unsafe sex, teen pregnancy, school failure and delinquency, crime or violence.

More importantly, a recent report from the American Medical Association captured the importance of this conclusion:

"For the first time in the history of this country, young people are less healthy and less prepared to take their places in society than their parents. Moreover, this is happening at a time when our society is more complex, more challenging, and more competitive than ever before."

In addition, a recent research report, Workforce 2020: Work & Workers of the 21st Century, Dr. Carol D'Amico discovered that employers grouped leadership as one of the essential skills entry-level workers lacked. These skills included strong work ethics, problem solving, and creativity, along with organizational and interpersonal skills. These skills were ranked ahead of writing, math, reading, and job specific skills.

Rising Stars is in part based on recognizing the Search Institute's forty developmental assets, experiences, opportunities and internal capacities (see pages 14 & 15) essential for health and success in our complex society. Search Institute is an independent, nonprofit, nonsectarian organization located in Minneapolis, Minnesota whose mission is to advance the well being of adolescents and children by generating knowledge and promoting its application. Search Institute and Rising Stars believe if our society would invest more in positive things that young people need, then we could expect higher yields (in terms of healthier youth) as young people become healthy, contributing members of families, communities, workplaces, and society.

Rising Stars is an innovative and unique inside-out development process that focuses on four critical elements that promote personal leadership and character; healthy behaviors and the skills employers identify as essential.

RisingStarsFormula

Attitudes will directly determine in many cases whether a student turns a problem into an opportunity or succumbs to it; whether they behave in ways that benefit others or remain self-absorbed; whether they consciously expand the use of their potential or allow atrophy to set in; whether they diligently look for continuous growth and improvement opportunities, or remain satisfied with the status quo. Interpersonal skills when combined with increased knowledge and goal setting behavior enhance the ability of youth to assess the impact of their present behavior on their existing and future success.

Learning Methods

All of the following learning methods will be available to be used throughout the Rising Stars development process.

  1. Workshop Implementation Sessions. Workshop oriented implementation sessions will be held in order to put practical application behind the material studied. The number, duration, and timing will be determined based on each client's own unique situation.
  2. Spaced Repetition. Psychologists tell us that if we are exposed to a new concept or idea one time, unless it has an extremely powerful impact on us, after one day we will likely remember less than 50% of what we heard; after two days, less that 25%; and after 16 days we may remember as little as 2%. Alternatively, if we consciously expose ourselves to the same concept or idea six times over a period of time, we can increase the retention rate of that information to as high as 62% for a period that exceeds sixteen years. For this reason, part of the process will involve the use of cassette tapes, enabling the participants to conveniently make use of the power of spaced repetition.
  3. Break-out Groups. One of the best ways to develop the commitment of the participants is to ensure that they are actively involved in the learning process. By having each participant act as a leader and present the ideas of their break-out group, the leader learns to tie individual experiences into a group learning process.
  4. Practical Application. Every week the participants are responsible for discussing what they think the major and secondary ideas are as well as how they are actually applying these concepts and ideas on an on-going basis. These will be reviewed.
  5. Built-In Motivation. Since one of the key elements of the process involves the integration of personal goals with forward thinking professional goals, the participants want to learn from the process because of the satisfaction and benefits they will receive through the realization of their personal goals.

This process has been field tested in an urban comprehensive high school, a middle school, a non-public special education program; a church youth club and a community based program for adjudicated youth. Through trial and error, since the spring of 1996, invaluable information was gained on how to structure a youth leadership program and what essential components are need to make it a measurable success. (The foundation of this youth leadership process was a successful 20 year adult leadership process that has impacted thousands of adults within the United States.)

These necessary components include; relevancy (taken from the need analysis), Action Plan (goals based on measurable objectives), reinforcement (the action plan, the facilitation and the alumni who share their experiences and help overcome obstacles) and most importantly, repetition (consistent with positive reinforcement from the facilitation to the text and tapes).

The Rising Stars process contains all of these components along with the innovative learning strategies of; self-directed learning where participants take responsibility for their own personal improvement; constructivism where facilitation recognizes how to shorten the learning curve and collaboration/team learning activities that support educational research.

To conclude, developing personal leadership and character are critical factors in bringing today's youth into society and the workforce as healthy, productive contributors. Rising Stars' proven process instills these behaviors along with an additional return on investment through prevention and reduction of risk behavior.

Rising Stars and the Eleven Principles of Character Education

Rising Stars approaches character education through the ABC model. Many programs attempt to affect performance change by beginning
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with behaviors. The ABC model begins with the Attitudes that drive the Behaviors that create the Changes in character. This process is readily aligned with the eleven principles of Character Education as published by the Character Education Partnership.

Rising Stars also recognizes the significance of the facilitators applying the same concepts. Therefore, supporting material and services are available to assist local individuals who wish to facilitate this inside-out approach to youth character and leadership development.

Character development does not end after completing the customized facilitation part of the process. Through the creation of the Alumni Association, Rising Stars graduates have new opportunities from meeting with community leaders to becoming future co-facilitators.

Principles of Character Education

Rising Stars effectively addresses the 11 principles of Character Education through the text chapters (TC), the Action Plan (AP), the Alumni Association (RSAA) and the Facilitation Support Material (FSM) as follows:

  1. Character education promotes core ethical values as the basis of good character. - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Physical, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  2. "Character" must be comprehensively defined to include thinking, feeling, and behavior. - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Physical, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  3. Effective character education requires an intentional, proactive and comprehensive approach that promotes the core values in all phases of school life. - TC: 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14; AP: Mental, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs; FSM.
  4. The school must be a caring community. - RSAA; FSM
  5. To develop character, students need opportunities for moral action. - TC: 1, 3, and 4. 5, 7, 9, 11-14; AP: Mental, Social, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  6. Effective character education includes a meaningful and challenging academic curriculum that respects all learners and helps them succeed. - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Career & Financial, Ethics & Beliefs; FSM
  7. Character education should strive to develop students' intrinsic motivation. - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Physical, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  8. The school staff must become a learning and moral community in which all share responsibility for character education and attempt to adhere to the same core values that guide the education of students. - RSAA; FSM
  9. Character education requires moral leadership from both staff and students. - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Physical, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs; RSAA; FSM
  10. The school must recruit parents and community members as full partners in the character-building effort. RSAA; FSM
  11. Evaluation of character education should assess the character of the school, the school staff's functioning as character educators, and the extent to which student manifest good character. TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Physical, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs; RSAA; FSM

Measured Outcomes

Rising Star graduates had a 40% grade point increase, a 56% reduction in school disciplinary/truancy incidents, and a 75% increase in college attendance.
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Participants learn to apply skills from their assessment, seek out options from diverse alternatives, make goal oriented informed decisions, and communicate effectively in diverse situations (socially confident). They demonstrate leadership in various situations; team - player and/or leader, providing vision and purpose to a cause and using influence to obtain planned goals.

Research was conducted to determine what personal "assets" a person needs to develop, or have access to, in order to succeed in life. This exhaustive study covered a wide range of demographics and psychographics. There were some strong conclusions reached:

  • There is a strong correlation between a high number of assets possessed and positive behaviors exhibited
  • There is a strong correlation between a high number of assets possessed and lack of negative or self-defeating behaviors exhibited
  • There is a strong correlation between a low number of assets possessed and a low number of positive behaviors exhibited
  • There is a strong correlation between a low number of assets possessed and a high number of negative or self-defeating behaviors exhibited

Internal Developmental Assets - Building Blocks for Rising Stars Outcomes

Commitment to Learning

  • Achievement Motivation: Motivated to do well is school.
  • School Engagement: Actively engaged in learning.
  • Homework: Doing at least one hour per day.
  • Bonding to School: Cares about school.
  • Reading for Pleasure: reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.

Positive Values

  • Caring: Places high value on other people.
  • Equality and Social Justice: Places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty.
  • Integrity: acts on convictions and stands for beliefs
  • Honesty: tells the truth even when it is not easy.
  • Responsibility: accepts and takes personal responsibility.
  • Restraint: believes it is important not to be sexually active or use drugs.

Social Competencies

  • Planning and Decision-Making: knows how to plan and make choices.
  • Interpersonal Competence: has empathy, sensitivity and friendship skills.
  • Cultural Competence: has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Resistance Skills: can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations.
  • Peaceful Conflict Resolution: seeks to resolve conflict non-violently.

Positive Identity

  • Personal Power: feels in control over "things that happen to me."
  • Self-esteem: reports having high self-esteem.
  • Sense of Purpose: reports that "my life has a purpose."
  • Positive view of personal future: optimistic about personal future.

External Developmental Assets - Building Blocks for Rising Stars Outcomes

Support

  • Family Support: Family life provides a high level of love and support
  • Positive family communication: Young person and parent(s) communicate positively and young person is willing to seek parental advice and counsel.
  • Other adult relationships: Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults.
  • Caring neighborhoods: Young person experiences caring neighborhoods.
  • Caring school climate: Schooling provides a caring, encouraging environment.
  • Parental involvement in schooling: Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young people succeed in school.

Empowerment

  • Community values youth: Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth.
  • Youth as resources: Young people are given useful roles in the community.
  • Service to others: Young person serves in the community one hour per week or more.
  • Safety: Young person feels safe at home, at school and in the neighborhood.

Boundaries and Expectations

  • Family boundaries: Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young people' whereabouts.
  • School boundaries: School provides clear rules and consequences.
  • Neighborhood boundaries: Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people's behavior.
  • Adult role models: Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior.
  • Positive peer influence: Young person's best friends model responsible behavior.
  • High expectations: Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.

Constructive Use of Time

  • Creative activities: Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater or the arts.
  • Youth programs: Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs or organizations at school or in community organizations.
  • Religious community: Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution.
  • Time at home: Young person is out with friends, with "nothing to do," two nights or fewer per week.

Rising Stars Youth Leadership Process and Legislative Requirements

Rising Stars not only recognizes the Search Institute's research and effective learning strategies, but addresses specific requirements
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of the State of Indiana's legislation IC20-10.1-4-4.5, U.S. Department of Education, Federal Workforce Investment Act and PEPNet criteria. The Rising Stars curriculum provides a strong foundation for leadership, character and citizenship education that many governmental agencies currently have incorporated into their policies and programs.

State of Indiana

Rising Stars effectively addresses the 13 components of State of Indiana legislation IC20-10.1-4-4.5 through the text chapters (TC) and Action Plan (AP) as follows:

  1. Honesty & truthfulness - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Physical, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  2. Respecting authority - TC: 4, 10, 11, 13, 14; AP: Mental, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  3. Respecting property of others - TC: 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14; AP: Mental, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  4. Personal best - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Physical, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  5. Not stealing - TC: 1-7, 9,10, 11, 13-14; AP: Mental, Social, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  6. Conflict resolution - TC: 1,3, 4, 7, 10, 11-14; AP: Mental, Social, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  7. Personal responsibility - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  8. Career responsibility - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  9. Positive treatment of others - TC: 1-4, 6, 7, 9-14; AP: Mental, Social, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  10. Respecting National Flag, U.S. and State Constitutions - TC: 1, 3, 4, 7, 9-11, 13-14; AP: Mental, Social, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  11. Respecting family & home - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  12. Respecting one's self - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  13. Respecting rights of others - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Career & Financial, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs

U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education in their Office of Educational Research and Improvement: Fund for Improvement of Education-Partnerships
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in Character Education Pilot Projects has designated 6 areas for youth leadership development. Rising Stars addressed these areas within the text chapters (TC) and Action Plan (AP) as follows:

  1. Caring - TC: 1, 3, 4, 9-11, 14; AP: Mental, Social, Home & Family, Ethics & Belief
  2. Civic virtue and Citizenship - TC: 1-4, 7, 9-14; AP: Mental, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  3. Justice and Fairness - TC: 1- 4, 6, 7, 9-11, 13, 14; AP: Mental, Ethics & Beliefs
  4. Respect - TC: 1-4, 7, 9, 10, 11-14; AP: Mental, Social, Physical, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  5. Responsibility - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Physical, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs
  6. Trustworthiness - TC: 1-14; AP: Mental, Social, Physical, Home & Family, Ethics & Beliefs

Workforce Investment Act (WIA)

In conjunction with the Sar Levitan Center for Public Policy Study, the federal government has recognized that short-term training and employment programs have not resulted in long term gains. Therefore, in 2000, the WIA revised its traditional funding of summer programs and instituted a long-term approach with at least a 30% emphasis on out of school youth.
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These new program elements within Section 129 of WIA also include: "(A) tutoring, study skills training, and instruction, leading to completion of secondary school; ... (F) leadership development opportunities, which may include community service and peer-centered activities encouraging responsibility and other positive social behaviors during non-schools hours as appropriate; ...(H) adult mentoring...of not less than 12 months; (I) follow-up services for not less than 12 months after the completion ." WIA also supports U.S. Department of Education and State of Indiana requirements in providing leadership and citizenship development.

Rising Stars supports the WIA's focus on balance within each stage of youth development. The entire curriculum focuses on personal leadership with the Action Plan providing opportunities for balanced goal setting behavior.

Promising and Effective Practices Network (PEPNet) Criteria

The PEPNet is a project of the National Youth Employment Coalition (NYEC) which identifies and promotes criteria of effective practices in youth employment and development.
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Some of these practices include: helping young people gain skills and background necessary to make good educational and career decisions; providing opportunities for youth to engage in community service; promoting cultural diversity and awareness; and creating participation opportunities for life skills and interpersonal skills development.

The Rising Stars' curriculum encompasses these practices. Rising Stars graduates have additional opportunities to serve their communities and to mentor new Rising Stars participants.

Rising Stars Deliverable Items

Textbook - 14 chapter perfect bound textbook.

Personal Action Plan - to apply concepts to everyday life.

Audio - CD textbook narration for repetition and reinforcement.

Binder - 3 ring binder to hold students journal, textbook and audio support.

Assessments - Pre & Post along with continual assessment during the program.

Facilitators Guide - (reproducible activities) program is from 10 to 32 weeks (2 to 4 hrs each).

Success behaviors do not happen by chance, they happen by choice. Students of the process learn that by making healthy, positive choices and taking action on their pre-defined goals leads to a well balanced, successful life.

Student leadership development is perhaps the most critical component to achieving civic, corporate and community goals. Today more than ever we need to be aware of the benefit of investing in our youth.

Rising Stars Curriculum

The textbook has 14 individual chapters
chapter contents...

Leadership

In today's fast pace and ever-changing society, developing leadership qualities is critical to long-term success. Within this chapter, young people will be able to identify leadership qualities and understand how these qualities were developed.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they will begin to implement this week
  • Identify the qualities of a good leader
  • Describe the three basic leadership styles
  • Distinguish personal qualities of self-leadership

S-U-C-C-E-S-S

Success has many definitions in today's society. In this chapter, young people will recognize the source of success, as well as create tools to help them achieve their own personal success.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • Identify the source of success
  • List steps in learning from mistakes
  • Define self-image
  • List the 2 step process in developing self-image

Glancing Back

Given our society's continued focus only on the future, individuals lack the opportunity to reflect upon their past behaviors. In this chapter, young people will revisit past experiences and determine which of their behaviors are a result of negative conditioning or conformity, as a precursor to making good choices in the future.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • Recognize and define early conditioning
  • Distinguish the differences between compromise and conformity
  • Describe the three basic leadership styles
  • Identify examples of healthy conformity and making good choices
  • List examples of positive and negative peer Pressure

Attitude Is Everything

Our life tends to be comprised of habits that can either ensure our success or failure. Within this chapter, young people will review how their attitudes about themselves and others can drive behavioral change and personal achievement.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • Define attitude
  • Demonstrate how attitudes affect past and Future behavior/li>
  • Identify 3 reasons why people resist change
  • Demonstrate good habits and positive attitudes

Goal Setting For Success

There are many types of goals. In this chapter, young people will learn the various aspects of utilizing an effective goal-setting process.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • State the criteria for a successful goal
  • Describe the relationship between short and long-range goals
  • Describe tangible goals
  • Define intangible goals

Achieving Success

Regardless of the youth's current environment, long-term success is a desired outcome. In this chapter, young people will begin to integrate goal-setting behavior and self-leadership to enable them to become successful on their own terms.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • List the advantages of personal goal setting
  • Describe the benefits of written goals
  • Define the acronym "SMARTY"
  • State the two main reasons people succeed
  • Define an obstacle
  • Describe an effective way to overcome obstacles
  • Identify the three ways goal-setting begins

Turning Solutions into Action

While each day information technology continues to expand our access to the world, we only selectively apply this knowledge. In this chapter, young people will recognize that applied knowledge and specific action steps must be united to overcome fears and achieve results.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • Define the purpose of a target date
  • Describe the fear of criticism
  • State how fear can be overcome
  • Describe how frustration can be positively handled at school and at home

Watch the Clock

Our fast-paced society requires the establishment of effective time management in order to achieve more in less time. In this chapter, young people will recognize that by managing their time they will have the ability to accomplish their goals and feel under control.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • Define procrastination
  • Describe how procrastination can be overcome
  • Explain the importance of time management
  • State the difference between "Must Do" and "Should Do"
  • Apply self-discipline concepts

Do You Know Your "Self"?

As individuals, we constantly face change. Before we can make good choices and "tough" decisions, we need to understand our "self." Within this chapter, young people will learn additional self-development techniques that will help them accomplish their goals.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • Describe each of the three "selfs"
  • Describe the difference between optimism and Pessimism
  • State the value and importance of visualization
  • Identify the specific criteria for successful Affirmations
  • List the benefits of affirmations
  • Create personal affirmations

Human Needs and Motivation

People share common needs. In this chapter, young people will discover how unsatisfied needs motivate people to act or react.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • Describe the five levels of needs within human behavior
  • Demonstrate self-motivation
  • Identify the key to higher levels of personal achievement
  • Explain why incentive motivation is not permanent

Leading Others

Leadership is situational and requires developed skills and appropriate attitudes. Within this chapter, young people will understand the concept of leadership and its application to them.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • Become what a leader needs to be
  • Learn what a leader needs to know
  • Demonstrate what a leader needs to do
  • Describe why leadership is situational
  • Explain the difference between power and authority

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Communication involves both words and actions. In this chapter, young people will learn specific steps for successful interpersonal communication.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • Describe the communication process
  • List the three fundamental principles of effective communication
  • Define nonverbal communication
  • Identify the elements in communication
  • Define empathy
  • Identify what type of communication prevails during a communication conflict
  • Communicate differently

Making Decisions and Solving Problems

Decision making and problem solving is a part of daily life. In this chapter, young people will comprehend that good decisions come from first exploring a variety of alternatives.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • Describe why decisions need to be consistent with values
  • Describe why decisions need to be in alignment with goals
  • Take steps to define a problem
  • Demonstrate how values help make good choices and "tough" decisions
  • Distinguish the difference between short-term and long-term benefits

Continuing Leadership Growth

Leadership begins with self-assessment and a commitment to personal growth. In this chapter, young people will understand how the choices they make today can positively impact their future success.

Objectives

  • Identify the attitudes, skills and behaviors they can begin to implement this week
  • Recognize the importance of being open-minded
  • Describe the necessity of a regular self-inventory
  • State why goal setting behavior is a part of daily life
  • Describe why goal setting is valuable in both the personal and professional lives of an individual
  • Demonstrate how goal setting can be internalized

Personal Achievement Action Plan

Introduction to Personal Achievement Your Action Plan
overview...

  • What are my dreams
  • List of Dreams
  • Mental Development
    • Self-Evaluation Questions
    • My Strengths
    • My List of Achievements
    • "Where I Stand Now?"
    • Goal Categories
  • Social Development
    • Self-Evaluation Questions
    • My Strengths
    • My List of Achievements
    • "Where I Stand Now?"
    • Goal Categories
  • Physical Development
    • Self-Evaluation Questions
    • My Strengths
    • My List of Achievements
    • "Where I Stand Now?"
    • Goal Categories
  • Career & Financial Development
    • Self-Evaluation Questions
    • My Strengths
    • My List of Achievements
    • "Where I Stand Now?"
    • Goal Categories
  • Home & Family Development
    • Self-Evaluation Questions
    • My Strengths
    • My List of Achievements
    • "Where I Stand Now?"
    • Goal Categories
  • Ethics & Beliefs Development
    • Self-Evaluation Questions
    • My Strengths
    • My List of Achievements
    • "Where I Stand Now?"
    • Goal Categories
  • Setting Goals and Establishing Priorities
    • Goal Categories
  • Goal Planning Sheets
  • Time Management
    • Time-Evaluation Questions
    • Time Use Matrix
    • Goal Categories
  • Goals Accomplished