This spring, students who are part of Dakota Wesleyan University’s Learn & Earn Program have learned from a mental health curriculum developed by Lost&Found.
Education & Advocacy Manager Courtney Young wrote the curriculum and presented it to the students over five monthly sessions via videoconferencing link.
“It has been rewarding to engage with the Learn & Earn students over the past several weeks,” Young said. “We know the transition to college and adulthood can be stressful, but together we can help students learn to navigate their own mental health.”
This curriculum is an alternative way of presenting content from the Lost&Found Advocates program. The L&F Advocates program trains students to better understand and care for their own mental health, equips students with tools for resilience and advocacy, and reduces the stigma of mental health in their campus communities. Topics include defining mental health and resilience, understanding coping skills and self-care, reflecting on relationships and ways to set healthy boundaries, and how to find help or help others to improve mental health.
The Learn & Earn program is a 16-month program in Pierre that allows DWU students to earn an associate’s degree with the option to complete a bachelor’s degree. It’s a pathway to landing a professional career that consists of hands-on learning experiences, real-world simulations, and individual and group projects paired with specialized speakers. This program does not require testing or traditional grading scales, making it an appeal to students who don’t thrive in the traditional learning environment.
At $18,000, the Learn & Earn program is more affordable than most two-year programs in the United States. Students are matched with a professional career coach for the duration of the program, who mentors them and provides guidance and structured support.
The Learn & Earn program allows students the opportunity to gain professional work experience in both paid and unpaid internships while earning credit/professional credentials in their desired industry. Fields of study and certification include Business Administration, Social Media Marketing, Project Management, Foundations of Social and Human Services, Data Analytics, and Insurance and Banking.
In addition to this work through the Learn & Earn Program, two other Lost&Found student programs are available at Dakota Wesleyan University—a campus chapter, which has been active since 2019, and the Advocates program, which started in 2021.
For more information about the Learn & Earn program, go to Learn & Earn (dwu.edu).
For additional information about the Lost&Found Advocates program, go to L&F Advocates Program | Lost&Found (resilienttoday.org).