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Many promising youth in communities throughout Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana are in harm’s way. They are up against a slew of difficult circumstances: increasing economic inequality, the decline of the family unit, violence, crime, drugs, and gang activity. Through no fault of their own, they are not prepared for the future and their chances of becoming productive and thriving members of society are greatly diminished. Sadly, this vicious cycle of despair is perpetuated for generations.
Jeff Isaac has made it his mission to intervene in these young people’s lives at an early age before they start down the wrong path. Isaac is the CEO of the Pathway to Adventure Council (PTAC), Boy Scouts of America. The Pathway to Adventure Council provides the foremost youth program for character development and values-based leadership training to over 20,000 young people, from kindergarten through high school in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.
Isaac has an accomplished, positive record for implementing effective and innovative programs that are geared toward disadvantaged youth throughout his career and he is continuing to make it happen in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.
Under his leadership, the Pathway to Adventure Council has developed exciting new programs for at-risk young people and their families. Isaac has an enthusiastic staff and volunteers with an innovative drive to carry out the new programs within their communities.
One of the first programs Isaac has put into place, Restoring the Village, is one he successfully piloted in South Florida. The program “engages community leaders to provide life skills, outdoor adventure, and positive adult mentoring to youth who are plagued by violent crime, gang activity, and wavering parental involvement.”
- Restoring the Village opens the eyes of young people to seeing life differently by teaching them valuable lessons through the Scouting program:
- How to become an asset and not a liability to their community;
- Personal responsibility and respect for others;
- The importance of community service;
- Discipline and leadership;
- The values of the Scout Oath and Law
For PTAC’s latest initiative, Isaac has partnered with WOZ ED, which was created by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and is lead by CEO, Karen Young, and Vice President, Billy Gardner, to build STEM programs for inner-city schools. Working with WOZ ED brings exciting innovation to the classroom and powers PTAC’s STEM program. This partnership provides curriculum, equipment, and experiences to schools that may otherwise not have these resources readily available.
Through hands-on experiential activities, students will learn about:
- Mobile Development
- Artificial Intelligence
- Data Analysis
One of the program’s biggest partners is the Gary Community School Corporation located in Gary, Indiana. Isaac and his team plan to bring the program to more schools and communities throughout Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana.
Because of Isaac’s vision, Scouting in the Pathway to Adventure Council is ever-evolving to serve the needs of promising youth in distressed communities. The team looks forward to the future successes of these programs and hopes that one day they will become the model for other Boy Scout Councils to implement throughout the country.
For more information on these programs, please visit www.pathwaytoadventure.org.
By Jeanette Vietti
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Jeff Isaac – Used With Permission