Monday, April 06, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Dropouts drop in online
The Post and Courier, Charleston, NC – April 5, 2009
Brianna Giesick was short of high school credits, but not of big dreams. The 20-year-old single mother earned her high school diploma earlier this week through the Evening Virtual School program at Fort Dorchester High School.

Guard offers dropouts diploma
Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, IN – April 5, 2009
Josh Blackburn dropped out of Leo High School in February of last year. The reasons were, in their own way, somewhat complicated. He’d had emotional problems his sophomore year when his mother had cancer and he had fallen behind. Troubled by high school dropout rates as high as 50 percent in some cities, Vaughn came up with the idea of creating an academy that would let dropouts re-enter high school in a military school setting, get a diploma and eventually become members of the National Guard.

Multiple agencies work to stop high school dropouts
Rocky Mount Telegram, Rocky Mount, NC – April 4, 2009
With local dropout rates holding well above the state’s 4.97 percent, a handful of Twin Counties agencies are working to make sure that students like Northern Nash High School freshman Sheldavid Hardy have a chance to be more than a statistic. Even after failing an English course last semester, 15-year-old Hardy and many of his peers have a chance to make up the credit without waiting until later in their schooling when dropping out looks like a better option than trying to catch up. “This is going to prevent me from being behind,” Hardy said of the after-school program that he’s a part of.

Juvenile Justice

Delawarean's documentary tackles juvenile justice system
The News Journal, Wilmington, DE – April 2, 2009
Three years, 50 cities and 22,000 minutes of footage later, a documentary about the failed promise of juvenile justice is getting its debut this month. "Justice for All: The Documentary" -- which was directed, produced and written by Wilmington native Sherry Dorsey, sometimes working 16-hour days on the project -- debuts Sunday in New Orleans and April 23 at Theatre N.

Redeploy Illinois: Local troubled teens get a second chance
New-Democrat, St. Clair County, IL – April 1, 2009
Demontee Townsend knew he was in trouble. He faced a six- to nine-month sentence in the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice. The then-15-year-old admitted he committed crimes -- joy riding in a stolen car, stealing from department stores -- and expected to go to jail. He'd already spent 20 days in the St. Clair County Juvenile Detention Center, away from his mother, siblings, school and friends. Then Townsend heard about a program that might allow him to avoid prison, so he wrote an essay to then-Associate Judge James Radcliff, who presided over juvenile court.

Summit focuses on helping educate at-risk youth
Ventura County Star, El Rio, CA – April 1, 2009
About 70 percent of formerly incarcerated youth return to the Ventura County Juvenile Facility within 60 days, while about 20 percent fail to enroll at an alternative school after their release, county Probation Agency officials said on Tuesday. To address this growing problem, about 60 county educators and officials from the county Probation Agency, the District Attorney’s Office, Behavioral Heath and various nonprofit organizations gathered Tuesday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura where they discussed ways to better address the needs of at-risk youth.

Foster Care

Youths get a hand living on their own
Des Moines Register, Des Moines, IA – April 4, 2009
Elisha Hobbs spent parts of the past six years moving in and out of youth shelters and foster care before starting to live on her own at age 17. This week her first apartment was transformed into her first home. A small army of volunteers filled her Des Moines basement apartment carrying bags of bedding and supplies to bring new life to her sterile living space through the Elevate Our Youth to Adulthood Project.

Helping foster kids take 'A Step Ahead'
Great Falls Tribune, Great Falls, MT – April 1, 2009
Poised to "age out" of Montana's foster care system, 17-year-old Amanda Hogan of Bozeman had big dreams for her future, but no solid plan for making them a reality. After attending Student Assistance Foundation's A Step Ahead College Preparatory Camp, she says she has a place to begin her progress. "College is the only real chance you are going to get to have a career," Hogan said. "Going to college will change your life."

Mentors Help Former Foster Youths Realize Dreams
UC Davis News, Davis, CA – March 31, 2009
Foster care was a rough experience for Marita Grant, and at one time her future looked bleak. She saw her peers from foster care living on the streets and doing drugs. Everyone dismissed her dream of a college education. But today, the junior is thriving at UC Davis with the help of a program that offers support to former foster youths. The Guardian Scholars Program, now in its second year at UC Davis, is providing about 45 students with practical help, a social network and individual mentoring.

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