I (we) have a problem and I (we) need a solution

This is the forum for those who believe that there are other options to gangs and violence and hope to see young people make better choices about their future. Where does change begin?

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I (we) have a problem and I (we) need a solution

Unread post by peace2dastreets » July 6th, 2007, 10:16 pm

Lately i've begun working with a youth outreach organization in a projects in my area trying to help the youths of the area to get off the streets and do productive things for themselves. But lately I've noticed a trend that I'm sure some of you guys have noticed or experienced. To make a long story short, I question our effectiveness. Don't get me wrong. Whenever I go in for work, I love it. The kids are pretty easy to deal with, they do their homework, play ball what not, pay attention for the most part and some of them are going to college and university next year. Thats the problem.

I can't help but feel that we're not reaching any of the youths who REALLY need the help. I call this the math-class paradox. In highschool, when the math teacher offered extra help to students during lunch or after school, the ones who showed up were almost always the ones getting 80's and 90's, while the one failing like mad never even showed up once. I feel like I'm helping the ones who are getting 80's or 90's, the ones who are gonna be 'somebody' whether or not I help them. Sure i do think them coming to our program helps them increase their potential, but I wanna be working with the gritty kids. The ones who, to be honest, we know are gonna grow up to be prisoners, outlaws and basically 'nobody's'. Sorry if that sounded harsh but i just wanted to real talk.

It kinda reminded me about the video that was posted earlier this week of the pastor giving the speech. To me, what he said was real talks and it needs to be said. But who's listening? The people who already agree with him hear that speach. The ones who can really benefit from hearing it prolly won't ever give it that much attention.

Yeah i know sometimes those young people grow up to realize things and pull out. But thats too late. I'm talkin about HOW CAN WE HELP THE YOUTH. So that they learn the lessons without losing the game.

I don't care if you have a reply thats specific to my example where you give me a suggestion of how to get the tough kids in, or if you have a comment to say about society in general. I just wanna hear some dialogue on this

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Unread post by Anesis » July 7th, 2007, 11:53 am

Random thoughts in no particular order:

What age/grade level is your organization aimed towards?
Are your kids parents themselves?
Are you focused more on prevention or helping people overcome past mistakes?
What opportunities are you offering them?

We have a group in Houston that works with music production, a chop shop with bikes, and a few other high interest activities.
Workshop Houston

Maybe you should contact other members of similar organizations to network and see what they do.

See about setting up a mentor program for the severe at-risk students. Most schools are desperate for male mentors.

A lot of the students you are talking about have already dropped out, so perhaps helping students with a GED program designed for people over twenty to minimize feelings of embarrassment.

I don't know about the money situation, but food always brings people in. Offer free food for an event, and you might get a lot of people who you otherwise wouldn't reach. Even if you don't capture their attention that time, the idea might stick in their head.

Trying reading Rubye Payne's books - a library should have them. Interesting and helpful information on generational poverty.

All of this helps, but you have have to have a healthy does of reality as well. Even with the best of intentions of both sides, it's doesn't always work out. You can't reach them all. I have been bitten, pushed, threatened, and lied to by students. While this is the most rewarding job that I could even imagine, I have had my heart broken more times than I can count. But you do what you can. Some days, if that means helping the kids who just need additional support rather than the ones who are out of control, then so be it. You can't give them control. They have to work for it.

If you are working with the truly at-risk, they will have set backs. It will take a long time for them to trust you, especially if you are an "authority" figure.

All of my students have my personal cell phone number. They don't abuse it.

And speak truthfully to them. If I don't know something, I admit it. I tell them how to world works, even if I don't agree with it. If it comes down to a Garza with a GED and some community college and a Smith with a hs diploma, who do you think is going to get hired? You gotta know the rules if you are going to play the game.

Has anyone from this board had an outreached that worked for them personally?

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