EPIC Receives Grant from WGRZ / TEGNA Foundation

August 1, 2016, Buffalo, NY - EPIC – Every Person Influences Children, Inc. recently received a $2,500 grant from WGRZ / TEGNA Foundation for its Just for Me Program, which is a life skills program for disadvantaged middle and high school students who live in the City of Buffalo. It is conducted in a supportive and non-judgmental environment, allowing for the development of trust between the participants and the facilitator. Just For Me provides a program structure that addresses the needs of teens. The workshops, typically conducted in an afterschool setting, cover a variety of topics such as Getting What You Want From a Relationship, Support Systems, Communication, Needs and Wants, Setting Goals, Resolving Conflicts, Celebrating Me. Emphasis is on healthy relationships, personal health and well-being. The objectives for the participants of the Just For Me program are to increase confidence, academic achievement and graduation rate. The benefits for the participants include learning valuable life skills; sharing experiences with other teens; and linking them to helpful community resources.


With this grant, EPIC will host two Just for Me Leadership Academy workshops. The workshops will focus on personhood, self-reflection, and financial literacy and will end with a “Celebrating Me” celebration and certification presentation.


Why This Program is Important:

Quasi-experimental research by the University at Buffalo provides strong evidence of increased emotional intelligence among teen participants, a finding that has been linked by an extensive body of research to academic and economic resiliency and success.


As studies show, having positive self- esteem and a healthy self-image is a major component to a teenager’s success. The healthy development of self-esteem and self-image is imperative to positive outcomes in a teen’s life.  Low self-esteem and self-image is linked to teen making bad choices, trying new things, feeling loved and wanted and most importantly being easily influenced. We know that teens spend more time with peers and less time with family.  Having a positive self-worth will enable teens to make correct life-style choices.


The Just for Me program will reinforce the qualities each teen has, what makes them unique and celebrate accomplishments while discussing positive and negative feelings.  Teens served by this program live in the highest poverty and crime areas.  Our goal is to provide a positive experience for the teen to focus in them and to result in a positive impact on the teen’s life.


About EPIC:

EPIC was founded out of a tragedy experienced by founder Robert Wilson. In 1977, his wife was murdered by a 15-year-old neighbor, a foster child they had befriended. Investigation of the child's life indicated that he had been abused, neglected, and placed in 11 different foster homes. While it was too late to change what had happened to his wife, Mr. Wilson felt that it was not too late for others. In 1980 he established EPIC, with a vision of preventing tragedies like his. EPIC's programs have now been replicated in hundreds of locations throughout New York State and in 16 other states. EPIC workshops and trainings carry out Robert Wilson's legacy by helping families, schools, and communities raise children to become responsible and capable adults.  Mr. Wilson’s dream has come to life with the programs that EPIC provides in communities throughout New York State.


EPIC provides research-based and evidence-informed year-round programming in Family Engagement in Education, encouraging early literacy and building parents’ capacity to become more actively involved in their children’s education, and Parenting/Youth Services Education, which includes Ready, Set, Parent! (offering support and solutions for parents of infants and toddlers, young children, and young adolescents), Ready, Set, Read! (developing family literacy and early intervention for children’s academic success), Families in Transition (helping individuals facing challenges reach their full potential as parents), Storytime (fun family literacy-based event), Just for Teens (enhancing the skills and confidence of pregnant and parenting teens), and Just for Me (teaching life skills and building confidence among at-risk teens).


For more information about the Just for Me program or about other EPIC programs, please contact Kristin Scholz at [email protected] or call 716-332-4130.