Our mission is to provide programs that assist youth and adults to develop emotional intelligence, which leads them to live their life with intention and choice. By increasing their emotional intelligence, participants are able to create lives based on making healthy choices, and are able to free themselves from unhealthy behaviors and past trauma, which may have been passed down from generation to generation.
The vision of Ark Family Center is to be the place youth and adults choose to go to in order to receive training and coaching when they want to make positive changes in their lives.
For the past twelve years, Ark Family Center has provided the people of Los Angeles County with counseling, coaching, and workshops that help our participants and clients to increase their emotional intelligence and thereby make better choices in their lives. The core workshop we offer is called Create Freedom and Awareness (CFA), an eight week workshop designed to increase the emotional intelligence of participants.
The CFA seminar is unique because it focuses specifically on improving the emotional intelligence levels and resulting behavior of youth participants. Youth today are faced with a host of risk factors that increase their chances of making poor choices. Research indicates that effective prevention programs must both reduce risk factors that increase the risk of problem behavior as well as enhance protective factors that buffer children from risk. (Hawkins and Catalano, 1992) Emotional intelligence is a primary protective factor that will serve to buffer these youth from the risk factors that they will inevitably face.
Emotional intelligence is comprised of the following characteristics and abilities:
- Self-awareness – being aware of your emotions and recognizing your feelings as they occur.
- Self-motivation – "gathering up" your feelings and directing yourself towards a goal, and being able to follow through on your plan despite self-doubt, disinterest, and impulsiveness.
- Mood management – successfully managing your feelings, and being able to react appropriately to circumstances, so that your response is healthy for yourself and other people around you.
- Managing relationships – handling interpersonal interactions, successfully resolving conflict, and setting appropriate boundaries.
- Empathy – recognizing the feelings of others, and tuning in to their verbal and nonverbal cues.
- Forgiveness – forgiving people who have hurt you in the past, because holding on to that past no longer serves you.
- Making healthy choices – being aware that you always have a choice in your response to your circumstances, consciously making healthy choices, and breaking unhealthy patterns that have been transmitted from generation to generation.
Higher levels of emotional intelligence among youth lead to:
- Increased ability to set goals and manage their time, which leads to improved academic performance
- Improved communication skills, which leads to youth having more positive interactions with parents, teachers, and other adults and authority figures.
- Decreased instances of bullying
- Improved peer relations, teamwork and cooperation among youth
- Youth developing social skills compatible with mainstream society
- Decreased delinquent behavior
Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability or capacity to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, and of others. Having emotional intelligence means that a person is successful at self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Research has shown that these skills are essential for someone to succeed at work and in their personal life and relationships, as well.
"Ark Family Center is an oasis for youth and families in our community. The work they do is nothing less than astonishing. Ark Family Center does not simply 'help people,' they awaken individuals to the reality of their own potential and give them the opportunity to shine as they were meant to. Those of our participants who have gone through Ark's Creating Freedom and Awareness courses have experienced vast growth in their lives. Over the past 12 years, Ark has made itself an indispensable member of our community." Ara Arzumanian, Past Director, AGBU Generation Next Mentorship Program Current VP of Mentorship Programs for Big Brother and Big Sister of Los Angeles.