Monday, May 11, 2009

This Week's News: Youth in Transition


Pitching New HOPE for Dropouts
Youth Today, Washington, DC – May 6, 2009
The effort to focus more attention on the national high school dropout problem came to the National Press Club this week, where an alliance of youth advocates and educators released statistics in an attempt to quantify the issue in terms of dollars and sense. They also used the occasion to introduce and pitch HOPE USA – their proposal for $2 billion in federal spending to provide financial incentives to states and school districts to fund programs aimed at turning dropouts into graduates.

School gets more than PASSing grade, Portsmouth, NH – May 10, 2009
By their own admission, high school seniors Athena Demergis and Joe Woods were on a fast track to nowhere. "I thought I was in charge and I didn't have a good attitude," said Demergis, 18, of Barrington. "I didn't care much for my classes and I was mouthing off at my teachers," said Woods, 18, of Greenland. Both now say they are grateful for the opportunity to change the script from likely high school dropouts to graduates next month with definite plans for the future. They say that transferring to the Portsmouth Alternative Secondary School, or PASS, in Portsmouth, changed their attitudes about education and life.

Lawmakers sponsor career diploma curriculum
The News-Star, Monroe, LA – May 10, 2009
The first of a pair of bills that sponsoring lawmakers say would help reduce the state's dropout problem and allow high school students to pursue a career track cleared its first hurdle last week. SB259 by Sen. Bob Kostelka, R-Monroe, overcame Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek's initial opposition and won the unanimous approval of the Senate Education Committee on Thursday and moved to the full Senate for debate.

Juvenile Justice

Youth offender programs make progress
The Times Herald, Montgomery County, PA – May 11, 2009
Finding that a community-based alternative punishment program for youthful offenders is a great crime prevention initiative, Montgomery County’s top law enforcer vowed to continue the program. “We have good results. It’s an empowering program for people across the community. They want to get involved and they want to be able to help provide some direction for kids who sometimes fall off the path,” said county District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

THS youth court program leaves impression on attorney
Taunton Daily Gazette, Taunton, MA – May 10, 2009
Taunton High School’s youth court, a restorative justice program aimed at holding students accountable for their actions, while reducing suspensions, is in its third year. In the program, a student who has admitted to committing an infraction can choose to have a jury of fellow students — supervised by adult advisors — assign sanctions, which can include community service, writing an essay or making a formal apology. Students are trained to serve as jurors, lawyers and bailiffs.

Girls Court helps teens build their self-esteem
Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, HI – May 10, 2009
"This is my house," one of the girls says, holding up her artwork. It's a piece of poster board shaped like a house with colored paper shapes and beads glued on. "It represents how it's crazy because we're always fighting. This heart here is broken, but it's still whole because we still love each other. We argue but we make up after." It is a Friday afternoon and six girls are enjoying a creative outlet after an intense session in the courtroom. This is Girls Court, a program in Family Court that serves girls in the juvenile justice system. They meet once a month to check in with Presiding Judge Karen Radius and a team of probation officers, therapists and attorneys, all female.

Foster Care

'Aging out' of foster care can be a challenge
Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, NY – May 7, 2009
Like any other graduating college senior, Sarah Lucas is nervous. "Very nervous," she says. "I've always used school as a way of focusing and now it's going to be taken away." Luckily, Lucas, now 22, and an international relations major at State University College at Geneseo, heard from a friend about the Orphan Foundation of America — whose purpose is to help foster children get to higher education and work.

A store like no other - ILP Store gives jobs to foster kids, goods to people in need
Chico News & Review, Chico, CA – May 7, 2009
A couple of years ago Tami Thompson was sitting in her office looking up at the mountains of donated clothes, furniture and household goods that lined her office walls and were stacked in the hallway. The items, destined for foster kids aging out of foster care, didn’t fit into their already-stuffed storage unit. Thompson is the coordinator of Independent Living Programs (ILP), a division of Northern California Youth and Family Programs, a nonprofit that provides a range of services to foster children and parents.

No comments: