Introduction to 402 Teaching Life Skills


Stabilization is one of the goals for the clients of a mission.  Therefore, training in life skills is necessary to prevent a return to homelessness.  A life skill is a basic premise that will allow an individual to be successful in life.  Life skills affect the whole person and a person’s survival.  Some individuals may have never learned basic life skills while others may have forgotten them due to addiction or due to a life of homelessness.  Life skills can involve a number of topics.  Examples include financial management, decision-making, communication skills, parenting, conflict resolution, household management, nutrition and health, hygiene, maintaining relationships, stress management, smoking cessation, dealing with loss, etc.


Who and What?

When beginning to evaluate the need for life skills curriculum in the Mission, the first thing that must take place is the decision regarding participants who will participate in the training.  Since the clientele of each mission differs, there will need to be some choices made.  Understanding the clientele will also guide the program developer in choosing what topics will be discussed.


If a mission will be preparing a life skills program for women, there may be additional emphasis placed on child care.  A life skills program for only men could encompass a different set of skills that may include anger management and communication skills.  In other words, identify the weaknesses your clients present that need to be addressed.


There is no right or wrong choices in the topics chosen for the life skills program unless choices are made because they are easier to teach or because a program director likes a certain topic.  It is important to gather information from mission personnel and also from the mission clients to determine who and what topics to be included in the life skills program.


One thing to note, finding a web site or online information on life skills is very difficult.  This type of a program is best when developed from the ground floor.  If there is a program available online, it is frequently something you can purchase—and at that point, it may not fit your clients’ needs.  This course will help you learn to develop precise course work for homeless or otherwise disadvantaged adults.