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Learn about The CORe Project and How Teen Courts can Partner for Positive Youth Outcomes.

2016 November 8
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The CORe Project


The CORe Project is a 7-16-week self-esteem program for teenagers that was first integrated into the Robeson County, North Carolina Teen Court program as part of the NC Academic Center for Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention (NC-ACE). NC-ACE, now the NC Youth Violence Prevention Center, is run through a grant given to the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

CORe is an acronym for Creating Our Reality and was co-developed by motivational speaker, author and consultant Anthony DeNino, along with, Jim Barbee of UNC – Chapel Hill and the Center Coordinator of the NC Youth Violence Prevention Center. The objective of The CORe Project is multi-faceted and ranges in topics including Emotional Development, Empathy, Vulnerability, Overcoming Fear, Self-Esteem and Empowerment.

By the end of 2016, The CORe Project will be a mainstay sanction in a minimum of 11 Teen Courts throughout North Carolina thanks in part to a grant awarded by the NC Governor’s Crime Commission. However, The CORe Project is also being considered in a number of other states including Maryland, Virginia and Louisiana for implementation. With regard to why it is spreading so rapidly, Cynthia Seaforth, Teen Court Coordinator for the Conflict Resolution Center in Concord, NC says, “The CORe program is beneficial, useful, and easy to administer. The lessons are designed to capture the attention of the youth and assist them as they explore and express thoughts and feelings about the subject matter.”

As the success of The CORe Project began to take effect, two very exciting things happened.

Upon learning of the accomplishments of The CORe Project’s seven-week program in Teen Courts, The North Carolina Department of Public Safety approached Anthony and Jim about expanding the program from its initial design to 16-weeks, in order to assist more Teen Courts in reaching their goals for higher rankings. The second exciting event developed during a chance meeting.

While at a conference, Anthony struck up a conversation with a woman at the table they were sitting at. Having never met before, it wound up that she was on the Board of Education for Alamance-Burlington School System in North Carolina.   When he told her about The CORe Project, she had to learn more and ultimately, following meetings with the Superintendent’s office, the program was implemented in its first school – Ray Street Academy – an alternative school in Graham, NC servicing middle and high school students.

Since that time, it was discovered that The CORe Project met many of the Common Core standards for health class. As such, it was implemented in its first Charter School, Clover Garden School, both as part of their health class curriculum for 7th and 8th graders and as an after-school disciplinary tool for middle and high school students. In fact, Walter Finnigan, the Director of this Burlington, NC school has this to say: “The utilization of The CORe Project within the school climate is beneficial to maximum student growth. The CORe program takes the time to teach students about healthy ways in which to handle different situations that they may be faced with as an adolescent. The CORe program allows for the instructor and student to build a relationship with each other built on trust and respect. Students are taught how to ‘get to know’ themselves and are able to handle situations more effectively upon completion of the program.” In discussing the daily quote and ice-breakers – elements of The CORe Project – Mr. Finnigan states the following: “This allows students the opportunity to think critically about the questions begin asked. This improves students’ critical thinking and writing skills.”

Overall, The CORe Project is currently in four North Carolina schools with ongoing discussions for implementation into another 12 schools before the end of 2016.

To learn how your Teen Court, school, community-based or prison-based program (The CORe Project’s latest area of expansion being discussed), please visit or contact Anthony or Jim directly. You can contact Anthony at and Jim at

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