Project Lifeline is open to any past or present court ward who has graduated from high school or earned a G.E.D. Juvenile Court probation officers initiate the application process by discussing the benefits and expectations of the program with the potential candidates and their parents. If a candidate wishes to apply, he/she must complete a formal application.
PROJECT LIFELINE PROGRAM COMPONENTS
Monetary Grant — Project Lifeline covers financial need not met by other scholarships or financial aid. Each Lifeliner receives an annual grant of up to $6,000, which may be applied to tuition, academic fees, room and board, textbooks, school supplies and other miscellaneous expenses associated with a student’s chosen course of study. Scholarship disbursements are made by check to a student’s school or program, landlord, vendor or service provider. Students are responsible for providing receipts for all checks issued.
Professional Services — In addition to a grant, Project Lifeline offers its students a variety of social services to aid them in any area, academic or personal, in which they may need assistance. PL will help arrange tutoring in any course or subject, counseling or therapeutic support, substance abuse treatment, job development assistance or other services as needed. Project Lifeline covers the cost of these services and regards them as an essential part of a student’s success. Payment for any services provided to a PL student does not decrease the amount of that student’s annual grant.
Mentoring — Project Lifeline has a strong mentoring component. Every Lifeliner has two mentors: the probation officer who referred him/her to the program, and a member of the Project Lifeline Administrative Team (composed of Probation Department staff volunteers), who will serve as that student’s coordinator. The service coordinator works directly with the student to arrange all program services and provide regular guidance and support throughout the year. Lifeliners are expected to communicate with their mentors on a bimonthly basis, although many maintain far more frequent contact.
Workshops and Social Gatherings
In partnership with Roosevelt University, Project Lifeline presents an annual, five-day writing workshop for new students. In an engaging, collegial atmosphere, they learn the basics of literary expression, essay writing and theme planning. The experience is designed to assess and strengthen our students’ skills in this critical area and prepare them for the demands of their first semester in college or trade school.
Project Lifeline also plans periodic social events during the year to bring program participants and their mentors together for evenings of recreation and entertainment. Outings have included concerts, scenic cruises, movies, plays and ethnic dining experiences. These get-togethers foster camaraderie among students and staff and build a sense of program identity and pride.
Project Lifeline conducts open admissions each year, from January 1 through March 31. The program is available to any present or past court ward, regardless of age, who has graduated from high school or earned a G.E.D. A candidate’s probation officer initiates the application, which includes four parts: (1) personal essay by the student, (2) complete high school grade transcript or summary of G.E.D. scores, (3) letter from school counselor or teacher, and (4) recommendation by the referring probation officer.
The application is designed not only to establish the qualifications of each applicant, but also to provide insight to his/her character, maturity, perseverance and clarity of goals. The PL Administrative Team scores the applications, selects a group of finalists, and conducts an interview with each finalist before announcing the members of the new Project Lifeline class. The Administrative Team conducts a group orientation for new Lifeliners and their families every June.
Project Lifeline is staffed exclusively by volunteers and keeps all administrative costs under 2% of total budget. Probation officers make up the PL Administrative Team, each of whose members serves as a service coordinator/mentor for between three and five Lifeliners. The service coordinator is the person each Lifeliner will normally contact to request scholarship disbursements, service referrals, or timely personal support and encouragement.
The Project Lifeline Board of Directors meets annually and includes a president, vice president, program director and a probation department liaison.