Teen Center
Leadership Training

Adolescent Support Plan
China Adoption With Love, Inc.
January 2013

Of the 2,000 children our agency has placed, about 1,250 are currently between 11 to 17 years of age. As children enter into the adolescent stage, the need for understanding and support is crucial to both the adoptive parents and the teenage children. While we all agree that the children can go through this transition successfully, we as the adoption agency hope to make it less frustrating and more meaningful.

Curriculum for Leadership/Mentor Training Program 2013

1. Purpose:To encourage the adopted children who have reached adolescence to get involved in the charity activities in Chinatown and The Chinese welfare system, as well as the mentors for younger teenage. Through their involvement, we hope to help the youth in the following areas: promote self understanding, self worth, a sense of belonging and sense of resilience; enhance their competence, connections, character, confidence and leadership skills; experience a safe and normal social environment in the training sessions to develop positive social values and skills to create a safe environment for the individual and group.

Values: hard work, trust, harmony

Vision: the training program will provide a chance to build confidence in self

As an adoption agency, we are not experienced in youth training. To gain understanding and to improve the training, daily feedback and evaluation is extremely important. The youth and their parents are the ones who inspire us and who own the program. With time, we hope the program becomes one that is of youth, for youth and by youth.


  • A) Six sessions. Each session will be held on Saturdays for four hours from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm in the CAWLI office or in any location of parents' choice.
  • B) Team: Four professional with various racial backgrounds who are also adoptive parents. Each session shall be led by two professionals. We also hope to create a mentor team and have our trained teens co-leaders sessions.
  • C) The first group shall be for adolescents who are between 15 and 17 years old. After the sessions finish, we shall issue training certificates. We also welcome the trained youth to join our professional team as mentors if their parents highly recommend so in writing.
  • D) Any mentor who helps future groups with six sessions, the agency shall contact their school for volunteer credits and shall provide recommendation letters for their college applications.
  • E) At college, we love to hear from the people who participated in the CAWLI training. If they take part in any program to help other adopted children, we would be happy to list their names on the agency's Teen Center web page.

3. Terms

Adoptive parents of the youth are requested to attend a whole day's introduction session sponsored by China Adoption With Love, Inc. It is important that the adoptive parents know the training agenda and fully understand and commit to the program. Six weekends is long time and the homework for each session requires practice with parents, in order to promote self understanding and communication.

First Session: Learning Basics

1. Create a safe and warm environment for ourselves:

  • A) Introduce each other, exchange emails and contact information
  • B) Discuss and establish group rules in sessions and outside of sessions
  • C) Liste session responsibilities and designate turns to carry them out: set up table; clean up the office after each session, pot luck lunch, etc.
  • D) Choose a treasurer to document costs accrued for each session in order to understand the financial management aspect of volunteerism and nonprofit organizations and come up with ideas of self sufficiency and green living

2. Review the training program components: purpose, goals, values, vision, structure, charity programs - comments and input from group.

3. Leadership theories: By birth or learned; Types of leadership; What is leadership? Leadership skills, etc. – You have a lot of these qualities already and you will tell the group what they are!

  • A) Leadership is learned!
  • B) Three leadership types: Transformation, Situational and Servant
  • C) Four leadership personalities: Party, Power, Peaceful, and Practical
  • D) Major leadership traits for youth: Learning and self understanding, Emotional regulation, Awareness of automatic thoughts and facts, Development by action - good example, supporting, following, confronting, etc., Empathy, Resilience, Serving, Hardworking, Interpersonal skills and communication, Positive attitude

4. choosing a charity project: Session leaders will explain all the charity projects in detail and explain the reasons the agency recommends the projects

  • A) Why did the agency put these Chinese related charity projects together? Is it the social expectation of ME? – understand the concept of social expectations
  • B) Who Am I: How do I feel about this label "adopted American-Chinese"? – identity challenges and search
  • C) If I can choose a different charity project on my own, what is it and why? How could I persuade the group to follow me? – self understanding and critical thinking
  • D) If the majority of the group chooses one from the agency list, how could I combine my personal interest in the chosen project? – Different styles of leadership


How do I feel about the session and contents covered today? How do I feel about the term “Adopted Chinese American”?

How many children are there in this country who were adopted in the past 20 years?

How many Chinese Americans in the states?

What is the history of the Chinese Americans?

How many Irish (Jewish or the ethnicity group your parents belong or from) are in the states?

How do I feel about my own diversity? What is “me” and who am I?

Am I the only one who bears so many expectations? Are there things that I am supposed to do with these labels?

Is it Ok that I am just me with my family and friends and school, without thinking about these labels? (of course it is OK!)

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Second Session:

1. Discuss the homework from last session

2. Discuss the chosen charity project: Emotion regulation and Awareness of Automatic thoughts

  • A) What is the automatic thoughts when you first choose this project (difficult, too much, I could not do it, no time, etc)?
  • B) How these thoughts makes you feel (confused, anxious, stressed, helpless, less happy, etc.)
  • C) What are emotions and what are feelings? Rate our emotions and understand how we feel
  • D) Where are the emotions from? What are automatic thoughts? What are positive automatic thoughts and what are the negative ones?
  • E) More examples in school that explains how thoughts make you feel different emotions
  • F) Chinese ancient story “Neighbor and Ax”: Automatic thoughts feed off each other
  • G) How the teen brain works and how we can manage it!
  • H) Ask if the thought of being adopted plays any role in our automatic thoughts and emotions
  • I) Give the emotion 24 hours to understand where it is from and then decide how to act
  • J) Learn to forgive, to relax and to move on: how to build a high tolerance level to frustration and how to make friends with failures!

3. Plan to start the charity project: Awareness of environment

  • A) Now we have chosen a project to move forward with. But, is it really possible? What are the facts?
  • B) Chinese ancient story “What is elephant?”: all people are right but right on one fact
  • C) The charity projects: Government regulation involved? Requires layers of approvals? Too big, too long? Too much money needed? Ability to understand time management and stress, ability to say "NO."
  • D) Look at our strengths: determination, spirit, intelligence, hardworking, good personalities, support from parents, school and community; etc.
  • E) Write a plan: time table, steps to take, division of labor, support recruiting strategies, events, result evaluation
  • F) Compare how we feel before and after we know more about the project: building experience and narrowing the gaps between automatic thoughts and facts


Talk with parents about automatic thoughts and how to find facts

Ask parents to teach some relaxation methods to manage negative emotions and seek their comments on 24 house rules

List the leadership qualities you see in your parents in leading the family life and labeled thema s types and personalities

Talk to your friends about the charity projects adn get some ideas from them - practice you leadership skills - encourage and listening

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Third Session: Empathy and Resilience

1. Discuss the homework

2. More discussion on teh project: the influence of my action on people close to me and the responsibility I have to people who love ME

  • A) How many people will be affected when I participate in the charity project?
  • B) What help will I need from my parents and siblings: driving, time, worrying, cost, etc. If I were them, how would I feel?
  • C) Everybody, regardless of their age and gender, has two selves: baby self and social self. What is my parents' baby self and my baby self and how to pay attention to their baby self now that I am older?
  • D) Do I feel comfortable to share information about this charity project with my friends? How would my friends feel about me if I do not spend enough time with them? What if they feel excluded, jealous, upset, etc? If I were them, how would I feel?
  • E) What exactly would I say to them in all predicted situations?
  • F) What makes a good friend? In my school years, how many friends have I had? What do I look for in a friendship? How to say NO to a friend who does not share the same values anymore? How to make new friends?

3. I had some new thoughts about the charity project we have chosen adn my parents also gave me some ideas. How to modify the plan and how to present my thoughts to the group?

  • A) Why I should feel free to say my thoughts to my group
  • B) How I should respond to different opinions and why
  • C) How I should respond if some group members show bad manners that hurt my feelings
  • D) How to apologize if group members tell me I hurt their feelings
  • E) How to bring the attention and energy back to the charity project

4. Open to new thoughts and new situations and develop adapting strategies

  • A) Changes, big or small, is part of life and change is normal.
  • B) When is change labeled as Crisis and why? Why does Chinese culture treat any change in life, even crisis, as opportunity?
  • C) Which changes are beyond our control and which are manageable? Why?
  • D) For a change that we feel we could control, how do we see it positively? If we forget to bring a spoon to school but want to eat yogurt, what would we do? Imagine ten ways to eat the yogurt. Adapting principals: reduce the loss to a minimum while achieving maximum gains towards the set goal. Adapting strategies: physical safety; list remaining human and material resources and re-direct them; list any new approaches and possibilities opened by the changes, etc.


Talk with parents about their lives and their Baby Self

Talk about own baby self and propose a method to talk to parents regularly

Learn from parents how many changes they had experienced and how they managed them

Discuss any changes the charity project plan has and ask for their parents' opinions and support

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Fourth Session: Interpersonal skills and communication

1. Discuss the homework from last session


2. Communication is the key to any achievement in any project

  • A) Was I a talkative child in elementary school?
  • B) Am I talkative now? At school, in general, or with friends only? Why does it change?
  • C) What do we talk about at school or with friends? Body change? boys? looks? grades? When do we feel annoyed by gossip? Why?
  • D) What are "trouble talks" and Relational Aggression?
  • E) What is bullying and do we have any experience with bullying?
  • F) Do we see any bullying towards other children and what do we do as bystanders?
  • G) What to do if we are being bullied and what to do if we see other children being bullied
  • H) When to call police? When to tell teachers? When to walk away?
  • I) Learn when and how to say NO in different situations and say it loudly!

3. Listening carefull to parents

  • A) Why do I feel mad when parents say NO? Is it because I feel I have no power? Treated unfairly?
  • B) Why do my parents keep talking about drugs, dating, bulling, violence, etc? Is it because they do not trust me?
  • C) Are all parents like this or just MY parents?
  • D) They do not trust me because I was adopted?
  • E) Why do I feel that nobody understands me?
  • F) How to empty all my pre-assumptions about a person when listening to him/her?
  • G) How to assure my parents that I will stick to the values they instilled in me and I will never use drugs, accept negative peer pressure, get pressured by boys, etc.
  • H) Design cards to express your feelings and determination to parents
  • I) How to design a communication system with parents to improve understanding and good feelings?


Talk with parents about bullying in school: any bullying about race or adoption or other things?

Talk with parents about your friends and positive/negative feelings about other peers: what kind of popularity counts?

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Session Five: Start the charity project

Volunteer in the field!

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Session Six: Working hard and Positive Attitude

1. Discuss last week's first effort for the charity project

2. Discuss the charity project again: list five things that we can g ain from the charity project we choose:

  • A) An opportunity to help others
  • B) An opportunity to learn and to experience new things
  • C) An opportunity to make new friends

3. More discussion of the charity project and our concerns: our capability

4. Chinese culture: appreciation of weakness and persistence - slow bird, silly man, turtle race, etc.

  • A) What numbers tell us about inventions, tests, definitions of Genius, working addictions, etc.: Learn to Fail or Fail to learn: our choice
  • B) Why effort is more important than result and journey is more important than destination

5. What if we could not achieve the goals of the charity proejct?

  • A) Do we feel embarrassed?
  • B) What will other people think of me?
  • C) Why on this earth there is no such thing as perfection: definition of perfection: disabling fear of failure
  • D) How to reframe the term "failure": One step closer to our goal; learn how to improve, learn what works and what doesn't


Discuss with parents what the similar teaching is in our American culture regarding strength and weakness

Your comments and input will be appreciated

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