The term whole-person development refers to the “holistic development of a person’s actions and behaviors as compared to just acquisition of specific content knowledge.”* While this is an idea commonly used in professional development and similar settings, Words Alive has come to embrace this concept of whole-person development when working with our Westreich Scholarship students.
When looking at different models of whole-person development, there are generally six different facets: emotional, interpersonal, professional, physical, wealth, environmental, and mental development.
Every year approximately 10-15 students from our Teen Services program are awarded the Words Alive Westreich Scholarship in support of their pursuit of higher education. While many scholarship programs focus solely on the academic success of the recipients, we are much more interested in seeing our students develop as whole people. This is why we allow scholarship funds to be used not only for tuition, books, and strictly educational expenses but students are also eligible to receive funds to help with rent, food, childcare, clothing, travel, and other expenses. Each student is also paired with a mentor, who helps provide guidance, direction, and emotional support throughout their tenor with the scholarship program.
All of this is in-keeping with the tenants of whole-person development. After all, what good would money for school books be if you were having trouble paying your rent or buying food? By focusing on the bigger picture, this scholarship program is opening up opportunities for success for these students, whether that success be academic, emotional, financial, or interpersonal. Our relationship with these students started as an introduction of the joys and benefits of reading through our Teen Services programming in the classroom, and because of this scholarship program, we are able to witness this whole-person development in action.