Real Skills for Real Life

Growing up is a process. Young teens are immersed in self-discovery; exploring the world and people around them to craft their identity. Big emotions, peer pressure, and a need to test boundaries create challenging situations for young teens. To navigate this difficult time young teens need to learn life skills. At In Real Life After-school (IRL), we recognize developing the life skills necessary for success is a process too. 

We use the phrase Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) to describe the process of developing Real Skills for Real Life. We learn by doing. If young teens can test their skills in hands-on, real-life situations while a mentor encourages meaningful reflection and provides useful feedback their skills will improve. More importantly, they will learn the process required to develop any skill. 

IRL SEL Slide.jpg

The experiences offered by the IRL Network focus on four areas of Social-Emotional development: Emotion Management, Teamwork and Social Awareness, Empathy, and Decision Making. We have identified nine skills necessary for developing these broad areas of development.


Our Service Providers focus on increasing their students’ abilities for one of nine Social-Emotional skills over a 10-week course. Our process encourages authentic student Social and Emotional Learning. 

SEL Handbook

At the start of the course, students reflect on their skills with a belief survey. Informed with their students' beliefs providers design experiences to foster a mentoring relationship before testing their skills and creating meaningful opportunities for students to reflect or get feedback from their mentors. At the end of the course, Service Providers talk to students about how they improved over the course of the program. 

The process of growing up isn’t easy, but when students develop real skills, they will be successful IN REAL LIFE.