Hope Haven, Inc.

(ODEP Demonstration Program)
Organization Contact Information / Project Contact Information / Innovative Practices / Project Details

Organization Contact Information

Name of Organization Hope Haven, Inc.
Director of Organization David R. VanNingen, Executive Director
Contact Susan Loverink
Contact Title Project Director
Street Address 1800 19th Street
City Rock Valley
State IA
Zip Code 51247
Email Address sloverink@hopehaven.org
Organization Profile

Hope Haven, Inc. is a faith-based community organization that provides psychiatric rehabilitation services, children and family services, community living services, employment services, and international ministries. Hope Haven provides vocational assessment, career planning, and exploration, as well as job development and job placement as part of their employment services.

A consortium of organizations and individuals were brought together under the leadership of Hope Haven, Inc. to develop and implement this project. West Sioux Community High School, the area education agency, the local Iowa vocational rehabilitation services counselor, the transition advisory board, the local workforce investment act youth program, and Hawarden Area Partnership for Progress are part of the consortium. It also included youth with disabilities and a parent representative.


Project Contact Information

Grantee Project Name Hope Haven, Inc.
Contact Susan Loverink
Contact Title Project Director
Street Address 1800 19th Street
City Rock Valley
State IA
Zip Code 51247
Email Address sloverink@hopehaven.org

Innovative Practices

Program Structure/Design

The CASE curriculum, which is an acronym for Careers and Self Exploration, is a one semester curriculum that initially targeted high school juniors who spend at least one hour of the school day in the resource room. In this classroom students with learning difficulties can receive additional academic support. Adapted from a curriculum developed by Boston University, Hope Haven modified it so that the CASE curriculum for use in a classroom setting over the course of one semester. Hope Haven added exposure to the world of work through an entrepreneurial component, guest speakers from local area businesses, and job shadowing experiences.

The curriculum was first implemented during the 2004-2005 school year with the following emphasis:

  • Self Determination
  • Comprehensive Career Planning and Guidance Curriculum
  • Accompanying Entrepreneurial Experience
  • Career Exploration
  • Job Shadowing

The CASE curriculum, taught by the resource room teacher, sets forth the objective that “each student in the class will graduate with a career goal and a plan to obtain that goal.” The class size is kept small with no more than 12 students per class. Originally this class was limited to students with disabilities as it was used in place of the study hall period because it was not an approved course for credit. Subsequently, the curriculum was approved by the local board of education as an elective credit course. In addition, the school realized that the curriculum would benefit all students. Accordingly it is now an elective course open to any student who wishes to participate.

The classroom teacher follows up with the students during their senior year of high school to assist them on following through with the students’ post-secondary planning.

Intermediary Activities

Hope Haven served as the local intermediary for this project. They were the conveners of the local project team that planned the project and submitted the application for funding. Hope Haven had the initial idea of adapting the intensive psychiatric curriculum used in Iowa to serve adults with psychiatric disabilities. They believed that the adapted model could be effective for youth career planning.

Upon successful selection as a local prototype site, Hope Haven served as the project manager. It worked with the local West Sioux High School in modifying the curriculum so that it could be used in a classroom setting. It provided technical assistance to the high school in implementing the curriculum, including the accompanying entrepreneurial component (a coffee shop), and provided on going support in implementing the curriculum.

Hope Haven convened the local partnership that provided oversight and guidance to the project throughout the grant period. The partners included the West Sioux Community School, Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Workforce Development (One-Stop) Center, the Hawarden Area Partnership for Progress, youth, parents, and the Northwest Transition Advisory Board and the Northwest AEA (Area Education Agency). Hope Haven also became the lead partner in developing plans for replicating and sustaining the project.

Hope Haven plans to continue its role as an intermediary in replicating this curriculum to other areas of the state. Another area high school has adopted the curriculum and has begun a smoothie shop operation on a once a week basis for their entrepreneurial experience. There are plans to expand this entrepreneurial piece in the next school year. A high school located in central Iowa is also planning to use the curriculum. Hope Haven and its partners have presented the curriculum to other communities and one other state, neighboring South Dakota. They plan to sell the curriculum, including their technical assistance and training in implementing the curriculum, to other communities as a way to replicate it.

Workforce Preparatory & Work-based Experiences

As part of the curriculum, the class operates a youth-driven entrepreneurial experience. In Hawarden, Iowa, it is a coffee shop called Falcon Joe’s. It is open in the morning before classes start, beginning at 7:30 am and staying open until 9:30 am. It makes and sells a variety of coffee drinks to students, school personnel, and the public. Students in the CASE class run the coffee shop and are paid for the hours that they work. They are exposed to all aspects of running the business. This provides the students with real world work experience. The coffee shop has been popular within the school and the community, and the revenue from it makes it self-sustaining.

Area businesses provide opportunities for youth to learn about jobs within the community. Guest speakers from local businesses come to the class room to talk about their business. Local businesses also provide the job shadowing opportunities for all students in the class. In selecting a job shadowing experience, every attempt is make to match the students with a business that reflects their career interests. Group field trips provide an opportunity for youth to learn about careers that are outside the community.

Youth Development & Leadership Opportunities

The four levels of the curriculum are designed to prepare youth for life beyond high school, in terms of both personal development and preparing for further education and work. The Assessing Readiness addresses the students’ commitment to their personal planning and creates self-awareness as well as environmental awareness. The Developing Readiness component teaches personal readiness, academic awareness, and social competence. The Choosing a Goal component helps students clarify their work values, define career characteristics, and select a career goal. And finally the Achieving the Goal component focuses on relationship building and developing a post high school plan. In addition students are provided with an inventory of resources, which they call resource mapping, to help students pursue their post-secondary goals.


Project Details

Project Plans and Outcomes

This project was originally planned to be exclusively for students with disabilities. It has been expanded to include all students interested in attending this one-semester course. The course began as a noncredit program that operated during a study hall period. It has been approved by the area board of education as an elective credit program.

The project did not set numeric goals; rather it proposed to serve all junior level students that are assigned to the resource room over the 2005 and 2006 school years.

For the semesters beginning in January 2005 through September 2006, this project served 35 youth. Of those students, 15 stayed in school, 10 advanced to the next grade level, and 5 received a standard high school diploma.

The project set milestones for implementation and maintained data on students who participated in the program, including a post-program follow up in order to evaluate its effectiveness. In 2007, the project was recognized by the Iowa Chapter of the International Association of Workforce Professionals, winning the first place award for Specialized Customer Service - Group. The project was also selected as second place winner in the same category by the International Association of Workforce Professionals.

A follow up survey is conducted every year of students with disabilities that graduate from West Sioux High School. This survey includes both students that participated in the CASE curriculum and those that did not. Three years of follow-up surveys have been conducted, for the classes of 2004 – 2006. The conclusion of these follow up studies is that those students who participated in the CASE curriculum were more likely to further their education and be employed in jobs that pay higher wages. The participating students report and demonstrate an increase in empowerment, self-confidence, hope, and belief in themselves.

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